The coast is still clear: Florida waters remain free of red tide blooms, FWC says

Florida’s coastal waters remain free of red tide algal blooms, according to the latest round of tests conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The report continues a low streak for red tide levels in Florida since the most recent bloom began in October 2017.

The Karenia Brevis algae that causes red tide was only observed in samples in three Southwest Florida counties over the past week.

Background concentrations (1,000 cells of K. Brevis per liter or less) of red tide were observed off Charlotte and Lee counties, and background to low concentrations (10,000-100,000 cells per liter) were observed in Collier County.

That’s a slight increase for Collier County, where only background concentrations were observed last week.

At low concentrations red tide can cause respiratory irritation and fish kills, according to FWC, but none have been reported so far this week in Collier County.

K. brevis was not observed in northwest Florida or along the east coast over the past week.

The most recent samples show that K. Brevis is not present in waters off Anna Maria Island and Manatee County, where the algae previously persisted at bloom concentrations for months.

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Over the past week, no fish kills suspected to be related to red tide were reported. Respiratory irritation was only reported in Manatee County.

Short-term red tide tracking maps produced by the College of Marine Science at University of South Florida and the Florida Wildlife Research Institute predict that waters in the Tampa Bay region will remain red-tide-free over the next three days, but low concentrations may persist off of Collier County.

FWC will issue the next statewide red tide status report on Friday.

For more information, call 866-300-9399 anytime from anywhere in Florida to get the latest red tide status report. Call 727-552-2448 from outside Florida.

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Ryan Ballogg covers arts, entertainment, dining, breaking and local news for the Bradenton Herald. He has won awards for feature writing and environmental writing in the Florida Press Club’s Excellence in Journalism Competition. Ryan is a Florida native and graduated from University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
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