A new red tide status report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says conditions are looking better in Manatee County.
In 13 different samples taken this week, the Karenia brevis algae strain was found in background to high traces, but overall, concentrations are between 5 and 25 percent lower than last week, experts said.
Only three of the those samples came back showing high concentrations, but they were collected at hotspots along Anna Maria Island: Cortez Beach, Longboat Pass Boat Ramp and Rod & Reel Pier.
According to Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s Beach Conditions website, the water was dark at Manatee Beach on Friday, though the respiratory irritation level was listed as slight.
Red tide continues to slam Sarasota County, the FWC said. The county’s conditions worsened by more than 25 percent since last week. Of 32 samples taken in the area, half came back with evidence of high concentrations of K. brevis. The agency reported similar findings in Pinellas County.
Officials say red tide is holding its grip on counties along Florida’s Gulf Coast. As the algae continues to keep visitors from Manatee beaches, Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, is urging business owners to apply for emergency assistance from the Small Business Administration.
“Our coastal communities and businesses have been ravaged by the harmful effects of red tide, and with no end in sight to this catastrophe. These loans are critically important to help our local businesses recover from this devastating crisis,” Buchanan said in a statement. “I urge them to take advantage of this program.”