Red tide bloom takes grip of Southwest Florida. Manatee County is still in the clear

As a bloom of red tide continues to strengthen on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Manatee County waters remain clear of the harmful algae bloom, according to the latest report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Of nearly 40 samples taken in Sarasota County over the past seven days, seven of the samples showed high concentrations of the red-tide-causing Karenia brevis organism. Researchers say red tide was not present in any of the 10 samples collected in Manatee.

The latest maps show the bloom has taken hold of a significant stretch of Southwest Florida’s coastline, spanning from Sarasota to Collier County. North of Manatee, background and very low concentrations were observed in Pinellas County.

According to a bloom forecast created by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg College of Marine Science, the bloom is likely to remain south of Manatee County for at least the next three days.

In strong concentrations, red tide can cause respiratory irritation for humans but is deadly for marine life. According to the FWC, fish kills have been reported in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties in the past week. Respiratory issues have been reported in Sarasota, Lee and Collier counties, too.

Ryan Callihan is the Bradenton Herald’s County Reporter, covering local government and politics. On the weekends, he also covers breaking news. Ryan is a graduate of USF St. Petersburg.
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