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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — One Florida county has dumped more than 17 tons of dead fish collected since red tide algae crept up from South Florida into Tampa Bay.

Fish are dying off at such a rate that officials are seeking more commercial vessels to sift dead sea life from the Gulf of Mexico and haul it to a landfill.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that's at least partly because the county has been paying boat captains to capture the dead fish before they reach the shoreline.

The last red tide report out of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Friday said the bloom was still active in southwest Florida and extended from Pinellas County south to northern Collier County, a stretch of about 120 miles (193 kilometers) of coastline.