Some Sarasota County beaches have seen high concentrations of red tide off their shores this week, according to the state wildlife commission.
A bloom of the Karenia brevis organism that was reported in Lee County as early as mid-November has slowly crawled up the Gulf Coast to Sarasota, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported.
In water samples collected Tuesday, results show that Nokomis Beach and North Jetty have high concentrations of the phytoplankton, which means there are more than 1 million per liter. Mote Marine Laboratory’s Beach Conditions Report stated that on Thursday, there was moderate respiratory irritation at both beaches.
In such large amounts, red tide can cause coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes and, at its most extreme, dead marine life.
From Nokomis, medium concentrations of red tide have been found as far south in Sarasota County as Blind Pass Beach and north to Siesta Beach. Other beaches like on Lido Key have recorded low concentrations.
Manatee County has so far avoided much of the nuisance that it had faced late last year. A low reading of Karenia brevis was found at waters along Longboat Pass on Tuesday, but all of the other beaches in Manatee had no red tide.