Red tide cleanup could take days, jail inmates help out

- For the past two days, Indialantic surfers David Goehring and his brother Joe say they've been steadily removing rotting fish carcasses off the beach.

"It smells and it's unpleasant, but it needs to be done" said David. "And if we don't do it, who will?"

That answer came on Thursday in the form of a jail chain gang-- eight volunteer inmates sent by Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey to lend a hand with the stinky clean up.

"They were doing a lot of the heavy lifting" said Bryan Bobbitt, Deputy Director of the volunteer beach clean up organization Keep Brevard Beautiful. "They were doing a lot of the stuff the volunteers weren't able to do."

An offshore red tide swept in by currents from the other side of Florida two weeks ago is blamed for killing tens of thousands of fish, mostly mullet. The red tide also releases toxins into the air, preventing many people, including tourists, from going to the beach.

Doubletree Suites Hotel manager Raed Alshaibi says red tide is costing him business. "We've probably lost about 20 percent" said Alshaibi. 

The general manager of the hotel handed out free lunches to more than 40 volunteers when he saw them cleaning up fish carcasses from the beach behind his hotel.

"You guys worked hard, so you should come into the hotel and have lunch togehter and share" said Alshaibi.

But with nine miles of dead fish to clean up along Southern Brevard Beaches, more volunteers are desperately needed.

"We will take as many people as we can get" said Bobbitt. "And we will be here until the job is done."

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