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Fishing rules altered due to Florida's red tide

Dead fish line the shoreline along the Sanibel causeway after dying in a red tide on August 1, 2018 in Sanibel, Florida. Red tide season usually lasts from October to around February, but the current red tide has stayed along the coast for around 10 months, killing massive amounts of fish as well as sea turtles, manatees and a whale shark swimming in the area.
Dead fish line the shoreline along the Sanibel causeway after dying in a red tide on August 1, 2018 in Sanibel, Florida. Red tide season usually lasts from October to around February, but the current red tide has stayed along the coast for around 10 months, killing massive amounts of fish as well as sea turtles, manatees and a whale shark swimming in the area. (Getty Images)

Florida wildlife officials have changed fishing rules for snook and redfish in areas hit hard by a devastating red tide just ahead of the opening of the popular snook season.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Thursday that the two sport fish will be designated catch-and-release only along parts of the Gulf coast to protect the stock.

It's the latest indication of how devastating the toxic algae bloom has been this summer.

Fish kills have been widespread, littering beaches with tons of small fish but also larger mammals including sea turtles, dolphins and manatees.

Two pygmy killer whales that tried to beach themselves in Clearwater on Wednesday are being tested for the toxin. The whales are being cared for by Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota.