Most Florida waters free of red tide. Minor levels are back in these two counties

Last week, Florida’s coastal waters tested free of the organism that causes red tide for the first time in more than a year.

This week’s test results from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission show that red tide is still not present in most parts of the state.

However, Karenia Brevis algae was detected once again at minor concentrations in two water samples.

In Southwest Florida, one water sample taken off Collier County showed background concentrations of red tide (up to 1,000 cells of K. Brevis per liter). Fish kills were also reported in Collier County.

In Northwest Florida, one water sample taken off Okaloosa County showed background concentrations of red tide.

Red tide was not present or at background levels in all water samples collected around the state of Florida this week. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

At background levels, red tide has no anticipated effects on marine life or air quality, according to FWC.

Red tide reaches bloom levels accompanied by more severe impacts on wildlife and air quality at medium concentrations (less than 100,000-1,000,000 cells of K. Brevis per liter).

Red tide was not detected in any water samples off of Manatee County, Anna Maria Island or Sarasota County this week.

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No other fish kills were reported around Florida this week, and respiratory irritation was reported in Lee County only.

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.

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 won first place for feature writing in the Florida Press Club’s 2018 Excellence in Journalism Competition. Ryan is a Florida native and graduated from University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
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