The organism that causes red tide is once again being detected in Manatee and Sarasota waters.
Sampling conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission this week found Karenia brevis at background concentrations off the shorelines of both counties.
FWC defines background levels of red tide as up to 1,000 cells of K. Brevis per liter. At background levels, no unpleasant side effects are anticipated for wildlife or humans.
Still, the appearance of the organism marks the end of a months-long reprieve and raises concerns that red tide could continue to spread and intensify along the Southwest Florida coast.
The first signs of red tide’s return occurred last week in Collier County where low to medium concentrations of K. Brevis were detected. This week, high concentrations (greater than 1,000,000 cells of K. Brevis per liter) were observed, and fish kills and respiratory irritation were also reported.
Waters off of Lee County, north of Collier, were found to have very low to low concentrations of K. Brevis in the most recent round of sampling.
FWC will issue the next statewide red tide status report on Friday.