There’s good news and bad news, depending on where you live.
The bloom of red tide that had lingered on the Gulf Coast over the past few months has recently honed a laser focus on Charlotte and Lee counties, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s report released Friday.
There was no presence of the Karenia brevis organism in water samples taken off Manatee County’s shores this week. Sarasota County shared that fortune except for a “very low” reading at Venice South Jetty, meaning that there were between 1,000 and 10,000 K. brevis cells per liter of water. A “very low” result can mean the possibility of respiratory irritation and can close shellfish harvesting at more than 5,000 cells per liter.
Medium concentrations, which denotes the presence of 100,000 to 1 million cells per liter, were recorded at Sandfly Key and Bull Key in Charlotte County, and in several locations in Lee County from Cayo Pelau to Buck Key. A high concentration was found in a water sample at Jug Creek Point, according to the report.
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University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science, which contributes to red tide forecasts, predicts a stronger bloom presence in Charlotte County.
Mote Marine Laboratory’s daily beach report collects data on 29 beaches from Caladesi Island to Marco Island. On Friday, the only location that reported slight respiratory irritation was Manasota Beach in Venice. FWC also received reports of slight respiratory irritation in Pinellas and Sarasota counties.