Crowds are back at the beach
For the first time since September 2017, Florida’s coastal waters are testing completely free of the organism that causes red tide.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that Karenia Brevis algae was not present in any water samples collected around the state in the past week.
A continuous, patchy bloom of red tide that lasted more than a year impacted state wildlife, tourism and coastal industries.
The bloom has tapered off in recent months, only remaining at high concentrations in isolated areas. The last bloom concentrations of the algae were detected on Jan. 31 in waters off of Monroe County.
Last week, a background concentration (up to 1,000 cells of K. Brevis per liter) was detected in one Collier County water sample. Fish kills were reported in Collier over the past week but not anywhere else in the state.
All waters off Manatee County and Anna Maria again tested free of red tide. The last trace of red tide in the area was a background concentration off of Longboat Pass on Jan. 28.
Respiratory irritation was reported in Manatee County as well as Pinellas and Lee counties.
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 and the west Florida shelf will remain red-tide-free over the next three days.
FWC will issue the next statewide red tide status report on Friday.