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Jupiter man worries algae bloom is affecting marine life

Posted at 5:54 PM, Jul 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-06 17:55:26-04

George Pinkerton, of Jupiter, was fishing about 30 miles north of Stuart because he refuses to fish in the thick, green sludge in the St. Lucie River.
 
When he saw a dead loggerhead sea turtle floating near Round Island in the Indian River Lagoon, he quickly took cell phone video.
 
“First off I thought it was a manatee,” said Pinkerton. “I was really disappointed and sad.”
 
After hearing about the dead manatee over the weekend and then seeing the dead sea turtle, George fears our marine life may be in trouble.
 
“Given the close proximity it was to the algae bloom, I wouldn't rule out why that's a possible reason why it was killed,” said George.
 
We showed his video to Tom Reinert, a marine expert with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
 
“We don't have any evidence that this particular algae is toxic to marine mammals or turtles,” said Reinert.
 
But Reinert told us the number of calls coming in from people worried about marine life is going up.
 
“We receive quite a few people who are concerned,” said Reinert.

RELATED: More toxic water coverage  | MAP: Algal blooms in Florida
 
George has been fishing in Martin County for 20 years.
 
“I watched that river basically die over that time between all the different discharges,” said George.
 
He hopes the releases will stop. 
 
“I don't see any way it could not be affecting the marine life there,” said George.
 
George did not report the dead sea turtle to FWC but marine experts say it appears that the animal was so badly decomposed that scientists wouldn’t be able to determine a cause of death. 

If you spot a marine animal in distress, you’re urged to call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at (888) 404-3922.

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