Thousands of dead fish wash up on bay
Contrary to popular belief, Hurricane Michael didn't wash away the red tide.
Skip Miller, a Miramar Beach resident who lives on Bayshore Drive, said he woke up Wednesday morning to find what he described as "tens of thousands" of dead fish that had washed up to his dock. He said he assumed the culprit was red tide, and that the majority of the fish were bait fish, with some catfish and redfish in the mix.
"It's going to be a major nightmare for me," Miller said, who added that after contacting the county, he learned there was nothing they could do to help with the clean up.
David Demarest, the director of communications for the Walton County Tourist Development Council, said that the organization aids in the clean up of public beaches, but that private bay-front areas were the owner's responsibility.
"We have never, to my knowledge, done private-property patrols of the bayside area," he said.
Wednesday morning, the TDC did a Facebook live video at Ed Walline Beach in Santa Rosa Beach, where Demarest said he didn't notice any fish kills.
"Especially since the storm, but even before that, our followers on Facebook like to see the beach in live, real time, and so Facebook is a way to show them exactly what the conditions are in that moment, and that's an effective way to quell rumors" Demarest said.
However, Miller had a different story.
"There's thousands, if not tens of thousands (of fish)," Miller said, who added that he's had a few dead fish wash up in the past, but never anything like this. "And there's like thousands washing in now."
He said that he's hoping the high tide will take some of the fish back to sea, making clean up a little easier.
As of now, he said said the smell is one of the main things he's having to deal with.
"Yeah, it's pretty (bad), you know, and these are fresh, so it's going to get real here with some sun in a day or so," Miller said.
As far as Hurricane Michael's impact on the red tide, Demarest said that on a recent call with Visit Florida, they said all red tide monitoring had been temporarily suspended for the area — following the storm — but would resume soon.
"I'm just a little shocked the county can't assist, but it is what it is," Miller said.