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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Local businesses are being impacted by Red Tide across The Bay and it might not end any time soon.

One fishing charter employee said because of Red Tide, he’s had several customers cancel their fishing experiences with him, and says he hopes his business can get back to normal soon.

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Jeremy Rzonca owns Something Catchy Fishing Charter and says both his company and other fishing charters further north are losing business because of Red Tide.

“It’s not really quite here yet, but it is scaring some tourists away. I’m having a few cancellations. It is coming. It’s on its way. The guys up there are really struggling by not being able to catch bait and keep bait alive. The fish are dying and they are pretty much shut down until further notice,” said Rzonca.

Rzonca says anytime there’s a Red Tide outbreak, it makes it difficult for places like Anna Maria Island to thrive.

“The tourists aren’t here spending their money, we’re not making the money. It’s not just fishing guys, it’s restaurants, rental companies, hotels, everything,” said Rzonca.

Dr. Steven Murawski with the department of marine science at the University of South Florida has been researching this year’s Red Tide Bloom.

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“It seems to be a particularly strong event,” said Dr. Murawski.

He says increased amounts of nitrogen in the water fuels Red Tide to grow and the Piney Point spill that happened at the end of March released a lot of nitrogen into Tampa Bay.

“That input can’t be good for the system, and it’s likely that there was some interaction between it, but we can’t say a cause and effect at this point because we know that bloom was already in place before the piney point discharge happened. The real question is whether or not it made it worse,” said Dr. Murawski.

He says it’s possible this Red Tide bloom can last for several months up to a year.

“This is on the backside of COVID-19 which is already stressing businesses which has made running a business that’s resource-dependent so much more difficult. They need to be flexible,” said Murawski.

“It affects us for years to come, not just while it’s here,” said Rzonca.

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Dr. Murawski says while Red Tide persists, try to avoid eating fish where concentrations are high, and if you have asthma or breathing issues, avoid the beach for now.

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