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MADEIRA BEACH, FL - JULY 21: Thousands of dead fish float in the Boca Ciega Bay located near the mouth of Madeira Beach on July 21, 2021 in Madeira Beach, Florida. Red tide, which is formed by a type of bacteria, has killed several tons of marine life in Florida so far this year. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

Residents living in places like Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island have seen scores of sharks in their neighborhood waters recently as toxic red tide continues to impact several coastal areas along the gulf side of our state.

Marine animals including bonnethead, blacktop, nurse and lemon sharks have been seen swimming in the waterways and canals.

Experts at Mote Marine Laboratory said the sharks are seeking a safe haven with food and oxygen, away from polluted water and rotting carcasses.

“Hundreds of dead fish, not a very pleasant smell and you can smell it from a pretty good distance away from the water. I imagine it’s pretty confusing to the sharks so they are just trying to find somewhere to go, somewhere to exist,” Nick Barnes, a resident of Longboat Key, told WTSP.

The recent toxic algae bloom has killed more than 2,000 tons of sea life in the area, experts said.

The National Weather Service has issued a beach hazard statement for several counties including Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota.

PHOTOS: Red Tide In Florida’s Tampa Bay Leaves Dead Fish Along Coastline

Katherine Viloria is Beasley Media Group's Fort Myers Digital Content Manager. She loves to write, snap photos, and watch Grey's Anatomy. Connect with her on Instagram @alittlethisalittlekat