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Red tide levels lower in Manatee, Sarasota after Hurricane Michael churns up the Gulf

Red tide hit hard on Anna Maria Island

Since August, red tide has strongly impacted sea life, business, tourism and the environment on Anna Maria Island.
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Since August, red tide has strongly impacted sea life, business, tourism and the environment on Anna Maria Island.

Just days after Hurricane Michael stormed through the Gulf of Mexico, red tide might be on its way out of the area, according to the latest update from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Five of the nine samples taken in Manatee County waters reported that the Karenia brevis algae bloom was not present. The other four samples showed background, very low or low traces of red tide.

According to FWC, those results account for a 5 to 25 percent decrease.

Counties to the south have seen a similar drop in red tide concentrations. The algae bloom has decreased in Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties. Despite that drop, reports of dead fish along the shore came in from Sarasota and Collier counties.

Reports also show that K. brevis is back with a vengeance in Pinellas County, where FWC says the bloom has increased in concentration by between 5 and 25 percent while dead fish are still appearing on beaches.

Scientists previously said a big storm like Hurricane Michael may have been necessary to wipe out the bloom. It’s too early to say for sure, but they might have been right.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties saw big decreases, but St. Lucie and Martin counties are still seeing low traces of red tide, as well.

The FWC says Hurricane Michael prevented the agency from collecting samples in Walton, Bay and Gulf counties in the Panhandle.

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