ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is asking Governor Ron DeSantis to call a state of emergency for the city as Red Tide devastates the marine life in the area.
He says crews are having a hard time keeping up with the amount of dead fish that need to be cleaned up every day.READ MORE: The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office In Contract With FDOT For Speed Enforcement
At Crisp Park, the water is covered with floating dead fish. St. Petersburg Mayor, Rick Kriseman says roughly 200 people are cleaning up fish every day across the city and county but a lot more help is needed.
Kevin Jackson works with the City of St. Petersburg and says “It hurts because seeing something like that grouper that I know took years to grow to adulthood.”
For Jackson, day four of cleaning up dead fish killed by red tide was difficult, after a 400-pound grouper washed up on shore.
“Being a fisherman, knowing what this normally looks like, it bothers me,” said Jackson.
He started helping clean up dead fish on Saturday.
“For the crew I’ve been with, we’ve been averaging 120 to 125 bags every day,” said Jackson.
“We’ve probably collected at this point in time more than 500 tons of dead sea life by now,” said St. Petersburg Mayor, Rick Kriseman.READ MORE: Georgia Expands CAPS Child Care Program To Add 10,000 More Children
Mayor Kriseman says that sea life includes fish, dolphins, sea turtles and even sting rays.
“It’s pretty awful. The odor sticks to you. It stays in your nasal passages, and then there’s the emotional toll of just dealing with all of the dead animals,” said Kriseman.
Mayor Kriseman mentioned the Piney Point spill that happened back in March as a possible reason why Red Tide is so bad this year. He also says the city has had to pull people from different departments to help clean the dead fish, now keeping those employees from maintaining the city.
“Pavement, potholes, lot clearing, mowing in the public areas, mowing in the parks, tree trimming, playground maintenance, sidewalk repair,” said Claude Tankersley, St. Petersburg Public Works Administrator.
Mayor Kriseman is now asking the governor for more personnel and resources to help, including more shrimp boats.
“Some of the shrimp boats that have been out seem to be the most effective because they can cast the wide nets,” said Mayor Kriseman.
Jackson says something needs to change soon.
“As a native St. Petersburg person, it hurts,” said Jackson.MORE NEWS: Ghosts of Ybor City
Officials say right now they don’t know how long the red tide bloom will be in the Tampa Bay Area.