The coast is not clear. Red tide levels are rising off Anna Maria Island, FWC says

Beaches on Anna Maria Island may be safe from red tide for now, but the latest report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission suggests it may only be a matter of time before it returns.

In a red tide update released Wednesday afternoon, officials said low concentrations (between 10,000 and 100,000 cells per liter) of Karenia brevis algae were discovered at both the Rod and Reel Pier and the Longboat Pass Boat Ramp. Very low concentrations (between 1,000 and 10,000 cells per liter) were reported along the Palma Sola Causeway on Monday.

That’s an increase from a report the FWC filed on Friday, which revealed that none of the 13 water samples collected in Manatee contained K. brevis algae. On Monday, the Bradenton Herald reported that Coquina Beach, Manatee Public Beach and the northern tip of the island were free of red tide symptoms.

Experts say low concentrations of the harmful algae are enough to cause respiratory irritation and possible fish kills. No dead fish were reported in Florida this week, but the FWC did receive reports of respiratory issues in Manatee and Sarasota, where conditions are notably worse.

In Sarasota, numerous water samples revealed high, medium and low concentrations of red tide. The report said Sarasota was the only county that exhibited bloom concentrations in and offshore.

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Anyone looking for an update on red tide conditions may dial (866) 300-9399 at any time from anywhere in Florida to receive the latest conditions from the FWC. Those outside of Florida may dial (727) 552-2448.

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