Red tide, short-term rentals dominate Sanibel Island Conversations

Sanibel and Captiva businesses suffered lost revenues of almost $27 million. "Our accommodations businesses lost $4 million in bookings," he said, "and restaurants lost $1 million, which translates to $100,000 in gratuities lost to servers."

The impact of Sanibel's recent red tide and blue-green algae catastrophe dominated the discussion at COTI Conversations, held on Dec. 7 in the Founders' Room at The Community House.

Sponsored by the Committee of the Islands and offered to COTI members, it is the first such gathering in the organization's history, and it drew a capacity crowd.

Opening the discussion, moderator and COTI President Mike Miller reported that the event left 248 sea turtles dead or stranded on the islands' beaches, and over 1000 dead in all of Southwest Florida. In total, 425 tons of dead sea life covered the island's shores, and over 2,000 tons were removed in all of Lee County, marking the largest cleanup in the county's history.

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