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Red tide stinks up Sarasota County beaches; Fish kills reported in 5 SW Florida counties

Red tide blooms continue to plague Southwest Florida beaches, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Evidence of fish kills due to red tide and respiratory irritation are particularly intense in Sarasota County.

The red dots on the map below show the highest concentrations of red tide blooms in the Gulf of Mexico as of Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.

red tide 11 24 12 01 2022 Red tide stinks up Sarasota County beaches; Fish kills reported in 5 SW Florida counties
Daily Red Tide map as of Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (Florida Fish and Wildlife)

Over the past week, K. brevis was observed in 72 samples. Bloom concentrations were present in 40 samples: one in Manatee County, 31 in Sarasota County, one in Charlotte County, five in and offshore of Lee County, and two in and offshore of Collier County.

  • In Southwest Florida over the past week, K. brevis was observed at background to low concentrations in Pinellas County, very low to medium concentrations in Manatee County, low to high concentrations in Sarasota County, very low to medium concentrations in and offshore of Charlotte County, background to medium concentrations in and offshore of Lee County, and background to high concentrations in and offshore of Collier County. For additional information, view the Southwest Coast report and map.
  • In Northwest Florida over the past week, K. brevis was observed at background concentrations in Bay County. For additional information, view the Northwest Coast report and map.
  • Along the Florida East Coast over the past week, K. brevis was not observed. For additional information, view the East Coast report and map.

Fish Kills

Reports of fish kills suspected to be related to red tide were received over the past week in Southwest Florida in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties. For more details, please visit: https://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/health/fish-kills-hotline/.

Fish die rapidly from the neurotoxic effects of the red tide, which enter their bloodstream through the gills. Because the fish die so quickly, these toxins do not have time to build up in their tissue.

Read more: Dead fish stench: Red tide worsens along Sarasota and Manatee beaches, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 12/1/2022

Respiratory Irritation

Respiratory irritation suspected to be related to red tide was reported via the Beach Conditions Reporting System over the past week in Southwest Florida in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties.

Additional details are provided in the Southwest Coast report. Reports of respiratory irritation from these counties were also received through the Fish Kill Hotline.

For recent and current information at individual beaches, please visit https://visitbeaches.org/ and for forecasts that use FWC and partner data, please visit https://habforecast.gcoos.org/.

Read more: High risk of red tide irritation in Sarasota, data shows, Bradenton Herald, 12/1/2022

Forecasts

Forecasts by the USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides for Pinellas County to northern Monroe County predict net western-southwestern movement of surface waters and net southeastern transport of subsurface waters in most areas over the next 3.5 days.


News Reports

Is it safe to swim in the Gulf yet? No, but more beaches in Naples are open for strolling, Fort Myers News-Press, 12/3/2022

Toxic red tide algae still thriving along Southwest coast, mostly in Sarasota, Marco waters, Fort Myers News-Press, 12/1/2022

Low amounts of Red Tide found near Fort De Soto beach in Pinellas County, Tampa Bay Times, 12/1/2022

Dead fish line Siesta Beach as red tide impacts parts of Sarasota Bay, Fox13 Tampa Bay, 11/28/2022

Storm surge and rain water have fueled red tide bloom, Fox News, 11/28/22

Red Tide Advisories still affecting Suncoast beaches, WWSB, ABC7, 11/28/22

Red tide still plaguing Sarasota and Manatee counties, WUSF, 11/23/22

Here, there, everywhere: Red tide plagues SWFL after Hurricane Ian, WUSF, 11/22/2022

Note: Some newspapers require subscriptions for access to stories.



More from Florida Rambler: Florida Blue-Green Algae updates


Avoid Red Tide

Toxins from red tide can cause breathing problems and irritate your eyes, nose and throat. Reactions to red tide are worse for people with asthma, emphysema, bronchitis or any chronic lung disease. If you have health issues, stay away from areas with red tide. Pets can become sick from red tide so keep them away from those areas as well as contaminated marine animals and fish.

If you come into contact with red tide, wash off with soap and water. You can get relief from respiratory symptoms by being in an air-conditioned space. For people without asthma or chronic respiratory problems, over-the-counter antihistamines can help. If your symptoms don’t get better, see a doctor.

SWIMMING.  Don’t swim in or around red tide because the toxin can cause skin irritation, rashes and burning and sore eyes.

DEAD FISH. Red tides can kill fish and other marine life—avoid contact and don’t swim or walk in these areas. Keep your pets away from these areas.

RED TIDE AND FISH.  Don’t harvest or eat distressed or dead fish (or any animals) from or near a red tide. Fish caught live and healthy can be eaten if filleted and rinsed thoroughly with fresh water.

RED TIDE AND SHELLFISH. Crabs, lobsters, shrimp, clams, oysters and scallops are filter feeders that can concentrate toxins. These and other shellfish, if harvested from red tide areas, can be contaminated with brevetoxins. The muscle of the scallop is free of toxin but the rest of the scallop is not.

WHAT IS RED TIDE? Common name for harmful algal blooms occurring along coastal regions in Florida from large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms, specifically an organism called karenia brevis. Bloom events are stimulated by nutrients from terrestrial runoff containing fertilizer, sewage and livestock wastes.


Additional Resources


Notes from the editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning a trip, especially to areas hard hit by hurricanes.

This page may include affiliate links from which we earn modest commissions if a purchase is made. Most links are courtesy links for the benefit of readers and earn nothing.

This article is property of FloridaRambler.com, protected by U.S. Copyright Law. Re-publication without written permission is against the law.


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Kim Wroblewski

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

The red tide can bother you at sometimes. But whiat our family does is just go down the beach a couple miles and you really can’t notice it at all. Sometimes it’ll bother you worse than others. But don’t give up hope our Florida weather is beautiful and so are the beaches so just enjoy it the best you can and except the red tide Kim Wroblewski

Susan

Saturday 14th of August 2021

Thank you for publishing information about red tide. This has been going on for several weeks not just this last week. I live near the beach in Sarasota county. I feel so bad for tourists who come down with no idea that this is going on. It is not publicized or reported much. The signs alerting people are very inconspicuous. Many lodging properties and hotels do not tell their guests. We’ve also had closures due to bacteria in the water. It is bad enough that our state government is not proactive in solving this problem for all of us, but at least tell people what’s going on for safety reasons. Florida rambler is awesome. Thank you for all your publications! Susan

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