There’s a welcome change in the water this week, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Red tide levels had been on the rise for weeks, according to recent reports, but the state agency announced Friday that local concentrations of Karenia brevis are finally decreasing. Only one of the 13 samples taken from Manatee County waters indicated high concentrations.
Experts said red tide levels fell between 5 and 25 percent from what they were last week. Five water samples showed no sign of red tide at all. Other locations reported background, very low, low and medium concentrations.
While concentrations have fallen in Manatee, concentrations of more than 1 million K. brevis cells per liter were present from Pinellas to Lee counties.
Sarasota County also saw a significant drop of more than 25 percent in red tide concentrations. The FWC says fish kills and respiratory irritation continue to be issues along Florida’s Gulf Coast, however. There were no reports of respiratory irritation on the East Coast, where concentrations also decreased in Brevard and Martin counties.