Here is some good news for Florida.
The latest round of tests conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found that red tide was not at bloom concentrations anywhere along the state’s coast. The red tide levels are the lowest reported by the agency in more than a year.
All samples indicated that the Karenia Brevis algae that causes red tide was either not present or at background levels.
At background levels, red tide does not usually produce harmful effects, according to FWC.
Red tide levels around the state have been in decline since the end of last year.
The most recent update from FWC says that it only remained at significant levels in a handful of counties earlier this week.
Background concentrations of red tide were observed in Collier County, background to low concentrations were observed in Lee County and background to medium concentrations were observed in Charlotte County.
Manatee County waters showed a slight increase in the presence of K. brevis algae. Last week’s report from FWC indicated the red tide was not present anywhere in the county. This week, the agency reports that the algae was present at background levels near Longboat Pass.
The latest red tide bloom started in October 2017 and swamped Anna Maria Island and other Manatee County beaches in early August, staining the water, polluting the air and killing tons of fish and other marine life. The most obvious symptoms of red tide have declined in recent months, although the bloom has persisted.
Over the past week, fish kills were reported only in Charlotte County. Respiratory irritation was reported in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties.
K. brevis was not observed in northwest Florida or along the east coast over the past week.
Short-term red tide tracking maps produced by the College of Marine Science at University of South Florida and the Florida Wildlife Research Institute predicts that red tide could remain present at background levels in the Longboat Pass over the next three days. Other waters are predicted to remain red-tide-free.