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Bad news for beachgoers: Red tide levels stay on rise in Manatee, Sarasota counties

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.

This week’s red tide report brings more bad news for Manatee waters.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said red tide levels were between 5 and 25 percent higher in Manatee County. Six of the agency’s 24 water samples this week indicated high concentrations of Karenia brevis algae.

Samples taken offshore of Anna Maria Island revealed concentrations of more than 1 million K. brevis cells per liter. Researchers also found high levels inshore along Cortez Beach, the Longboat Pass Boat ramp and Atlas Street.

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A map of red tide levels as of November 2, 2018. FWC

In Sarasota and Charlotte counties, experts said concentrations are more than 25 percent higher than last week. In Florida’s Panhandle, Gulf and Escambia counties saw 25 percent higher levels as well.

Counties on the Atlantic Ocean side, however, fared better. Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties all saw significantly lower red tide levels, according to the FWC.

This year's Day of the Dead Festival in the Village of the Arts will honor all of the marine life lost to red tide.

Gov. Rick Scott recently allocated another $3 million toward red tide emergency funding for Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection. According to a press release, the money will be used “to ensure ... communities have access to the resources they need to combat the impacts of this naturally-occurring phenomenon.”

The agency has been given $13.4 million to battle a red tide bloom that has held its grip on Florida’s coast for more than a year.

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