Saturday, November 17, 2018
News Roundup

Crab die-off in Hillsborough Bay could be Red Tide — or something else

TAMPA — Dozens of dead crabs were floating in Hillsborough Bay along Bayshore Boulevard on Sunday, centered near Bay to Bay Boulevard.

Though the die-off extended a few hundred feet in both directions, the cause is a mystery.

Until the bay’s water is tested, Red Tide can’t be ruled out as a possibility, said Robert Weisberg, a professor and oceanographer at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science.

"For the last several days there have been high concentrations at the mouth of the Tampa Bay on the south side — Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island," he said. Though Red Tide "could have been transported" to Hillsborough Bay, Weisberg said he had not seen any observations to confirm it.

Q&A: Red Tide’s toxic toll — your questions answered

Ryan Rindone, a biologist with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, said he doubts Red Tide has made its way to Tampa Bay waters but advised residents to remain vigilant.

"The bay is a very large and complicated body of water," Rindone said. "Being that Red Tide is knocking on the door, people should be observant about what is going on. But a lot of things could have happened (with the crabs)."

One possibility, Weisberg said, is that "there is a lot of industry in that end of the bay."

RELATED: Lingering Red Tide bloom moves north, killing fish near mouth of Tampa Bay

Ari Fustukjian, an associate veterinarian with the Florida Aquarium, cited disease as a possibility.

"Different diseases may flare up due to changes to the water temperature," he said.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has not tested Hillsborough Bay for Red Tide. The agency said it did not know if the bay’s water would be sampled this week.

The wildlife commission’s website says invertebrates can be killed by the low-oxygen conditions resulting from a Red Tide bloom.

RELATED: Recalling the devastating Red Tide of 2005 and dreading a repeat

Red Tide has spread along Florida’s gulf coast for months, affecting beaches in Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota and Manatee counties. The microscopic algae Karenia brevis reproduces offshore, then ocean currents deliver it to the beaches.

Though there has been concern that Pinellas County would be next to be affected by Red Tide, Weisberg said Red Tide could bypass Pinellas for Hillsborough through the shipping channels.

Fustukjian said Red Tide could have also killed Hillsborough Bay crabs by poisoning their food supply, which, depending upon the species, includes sea grass or "oysters, clams and mussels that filter feed."

If crabs "eat enough of them, they will get a toxic dose," he said.

The food supply being poisoned could be an issue facing Florida long after the bloom is gone.

"If it gets into the base of the food chain," Fustukjian said, "we will be seeing repercussions of this for several weeks and months down the road."

Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected]. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.

Comments
Jesuit pulls off a rare Tampa Bay repeat in state swimming

Jesuit pulls off a rare Tampa Bay repeat in state swimming

STUART — Jesuit boys swim coach Bill Shaffer spent all week trying to score the Class 2A meet. Based off his numbers, the Tigers were not going to have enough to defend their state team title.But in the preliminaries, things changed. Jesuit swi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Matt Baker’s takeaways from FSU-Boston College

Matt Baker’s takeaways from FSU-Boston College

The announced attendance (57,274) was the smallest announced crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium since the Virginia Tech game in 1988 (50,901). Crowds are down across the sport, but the empty seats were a bad sign in Year 1 of the Willie Taggart Era.RELAT...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Florida State’s bowl streak still alive after comeback upset of Boston College

Florida State’s bowl streak still alive after comeback upset of Boston College

Deondre Francois found Tamorrion Terry for the 74-yard game winning touchdown pass. Now FSU must beat the Gators next week to make a bowl game.
Updated: 5 hours ago
FSU journal: Ground game gets untracked a bit

FSU journal: Ground game gets untracked a bit

TALLAHASSEE — It took until the 11th game, but Florida State's rushing offense finally started to click the way the Seminoles expected with a talented backfield and a coach with a history of excellent runners.FSU rushed 36 times for 156 yards. ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Louis Domingue gets a workout in Lightning’s 6-5 overtime win

Louis Domingue gets a workout in Lightning’s 6-5 overtime win

PHILADELPHIA — The Lightning asked a lot of Louis Domingue on Saturday, allowing a season-high 45 shots.For most of the game against the Flyers, the goalie stood up to them, but Philadelphia applied pressure in the second half of the third peri...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning’s Adam Erne has first career three-point game against Flyers

Lightning’s Adam Erne has first career three-point game against Flyers

Adam Erne had a goal and two assists to cap a crazy week
Updated: 6 hours ago
No. 13 Florida rides Feleipe Franks’ arm to rout Idaho 63-10

No. 13 Florida rides Feleipe Franks’ arm to rout Idaho 63-10

GAINESVILLE — Feleipe Franks passed for 274 yards and three touchdowns — all in the first half — and No. 15 Florida ran up 600 total yards to rout overmatched Idaho 63-10 on SaturdayFlorida rolled to a 49-0 lead at halftime. Gators ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Temple scores 27 unanswered to beat USF 27-17

Temple scores 27 unanswered to beat USF 27-17

PHILADELPHIA — USF's spiral continues.Despite the Bulls' defense answering the call, the offense and special teams failed to respond as the Owls reeled off 27 unanswered points in the second half, storming back for a 27-17 win Saturday at Linco...
Updated: 8 hours ago
USF journal: Duran Bell returns to Bulls’ lineup

USF journal: Duran Bell returns to Bulls’ lineup

PHILADELPHIA — USF running back Duran Bell returned to the field for the first time since the Bulls' Week 2 win against Georgia Tech. He's been out with an unspecified injury.On Saturday, he managed 33 yards on nine carries in the Bulls' 27-17 ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
'You need events like this': Times Festival of Reading draws thousands

'You need events like this': Times Festival of Reading draws thousands

The 26th annual festival highlighted dozens of authors, many of them with Florida connections.
Updated: 9 hours ago