The City of Naples and Collier County are currently experiencing a bloom of Trichodesmium algae along the coastline.
We received reports on June 11, 2023, from Seagate Beach and offshore along Gordon Pass and Keewaydin Island. This bloom can appear brown, green, and reddish pink in color. It is commonly called “sea sawdust” and has a smell like rotting hay—a sickeningly sweet smell. Many people mistake this bloom for an oil or sewage spill, but when looked at closely, you can see small, sawdust-like material. It typically blooms offshore, and we see it hit our beaches almost every year in May and June; occasionally, wind and currents bring it to our beaches and even into some back bays.
Researchers have not documented any negative effects of Trichodesmium on marine life or people in Florida, but swimming in algae blooms is not recommended by the Florida Department of Health.