MADEIRA BEACH -- Capt. Mark Hubbard with Hubbard’s Marina says business usually starts slowing down in Madeira Beach at back-to-school time. But Hubbard says the fear of red tide is another blow.
"I came in this morning and we had fishing trips that were canceled, our dolphin watching trips that were canceled,” said Hubbard. "Individuals that are canceling their airfare and their vacation to Florida."
Fisherman Danny Stratton was one of those cancellations.
"Because of the red tide coming in and the contamination that that brings, we're not gonna chance going fishing," said Stratton.
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The annual 39-hour chartered trip was already marked on Stratton’s calendar for September.
“In a month, I don't know where it's going to be,” said Stratton. "This time I'm not gonna do it, I'll wait till next year.”
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the patchy bloom of red tide is 20 to 30 miles offshore. Hubbard thinks people have the wrong impression.
"We don't have red tide on our beaches, please don't cancel your airfare, don't cancel your fishing trips with us,” said Hubbard. “We have absolutely beautiful water, fishing is great."
Brandon Basino with FWC said the bloom isn’t growing, “It’s getting patchier, which results in lower concentrations of red tide on the outskirts of the bloom."
That’s a good thing.
"At lower concentrations, the risk to wildlife and humans is minimized,” said Basino.
Hubbard said he hopes people get the message, so he can get back to business.
Bay News 9 also checked in with Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, which says at this time, reports of loss of business is not widespread.
The visitors bureau is monitoring the situation closely and says it will act accordingly based on FWC reports.