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Beaches closed Wednesday in Indian River County after high levels of red tide detected

Posted at 5:24 PM, Oct 16, 2018

UPDATE: Indian River County beaches will be closed Wednesday, officials say. 

EARLIER STORY: 

High levels of red tide have been detected in Indian River County, according to test results published by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Tuesday.

FWC took samples at Sexton Plaza Beach in the heart of Vero Beach, and Wabasso Beach Park and found medium or moderate levels of red tide algae.

But at Sebastian Inlet State Park they found high levels of red tide.

Dead fish washed ashore Monday and many beach visitors complained of a strong odor. Others said their throat and nose became irritated and that prompted the state to begin testing. 

The beaches in Indian River County were open Tuesday but not for swimming.

Dead fish could be seen along the shoreline; some people wore masks or covered their faces and many were coughing.

“The amount of fish we’re seeing dead washing ashore is in dozens to a couple hundred so we are... clearing the beaches," said Indian River County Natural Resources Manager James Gray. 

Scientists at Harbor Branch did their own testing and also confirmed red tide with the levels at South Beach Park at just under what FWC considers a high concentration.