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Ian Ruins Man-Made Reefs, Brings Algae Bloom to Florida

Hurricane Ian not only ravaged southwest Florida on land but was destructive underwater as well. It destroyed man-made reefs and brought along red tide, the harmful algae blooms that kill fish and birds, according to marine researchers who returned last week from a six-day cruise organized by the Florida Institute of Oceanography.

Researchers who used the cruise to study marine life in the Gulf of Mexico following the hurricane say it left in its wake red tide and destroyed artificial reefs from as far away as 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the coast of southwest Florida.

“The one-time vibrant reefs are now underwater disaster sites themselves,” said Calli Johnson, safety dive officer for the research cruise. “Where there used to be a complete ecosystem, there are now only fish that were able to return after swimming away.”

Before the Category 4 storm made landfall a month ago, southwest Florida had a reputation for being one of the best saltwater fishing destinations in the U.S. Saltwater and freshwater fishing in Florida has an economic impact of around $13.8 billion, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Continue reading at local10.com.

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