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Red Tide Spotted in Manatee, Sarasota Counties

There have been reports of respiratory problems in beach-goers that are related to the higher levels of red tide along the Southwest Florida coast.

Florida red tide has been detected at higher levels this week along Manatee and Sarasota county beaches, according to Mote Marine Laboratory.

Mote Marine Laboratory scientists are reminding beachgoers of the risks and hazards of red tide, including respiratory problems from exposure.

Beach-goers this week reported respiratory irritation caused by red tide's airborne toxins blowing ashore. Dead fish were found onshore at several Southwest Florida beaches, and the sighting are believed to be related to the bloom.

  • Cases of respiratory irritation were reported by visitors at Coquina Beach, Nokomis, Venice Beach, Venice North Jetty, and Manasota Key.
  • Sightings of dead fish were reported in Nokomis, around the Venice North Jetty, at Venice Beach and on Manasota Key.

Sarasota County is scheduled to remove fish from county-owned beaches today and tomorrow, Jan. 18 and 19.

Beach water samples collected on Monday by the Sarasota County Health Department and analyzed by Mote showed a marked increase in red tide algae (Karenia brevis) over test results from last week.

Increased levels of K. brevis were found at Brohard, Caspersen, Manasota, Blind Pass beaches and others.

As of Jan. 16, the bloom was detected in low to high concentrations alongshore and inshore of Manatee County south through Lee County.

Recent satellite images showed that the bloom extends alongshore and offshore of southern Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties with patches present off the Florida Keys, according to the multi-partner monitoring report compiled by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI).

Take precaution

 In areas with red tide, beachgoers may experience coughing, sneezing, scratchy throat or teary eyes. These effects should be temporary and go away when those affected leave the beach. However, people with asthma or other chronic respiratory impairments should be aware of places where red tide impacts are reported and should avoid those areas. Red tide can trigger their symptoms and potentially cause serious illness.

Pet owners should take precautions. Dogs that lick their fur or paws after swimming in red tide areas, or eat dead fish on the beach, may experience gastrointestinal illness or other symptoms from ingesting toxins, which can be harmful to their health. Pets should not be allowed to consume or play with dead fish and they should be rinsed with clear water after a beach swim.

For more information on red tide in your area

  • Mote’s Beach Conditions Report is updated as often as twice daily at: www.mote.org/beaches. Residents and visitors can also register to receive email reports about specific beaches. For telephone updates, call 941-BEACHES (232-2437) and press "1" for Sarasota County beaches.
  • Statewide updates on red tide are normally available on Wednesday and Friday evenings from FWRI. Visit MyFWC.com/Research and click the link for red tide updates.
  • Report fish kills to FWRI’s Fish Kill Hotline by calling 1-800-636-0511 or visiting MyFWC.com/FishKill
  • Check for closures of shellfish harvest beds due to red tide: http://www.floridaaquaculture.com/RedTide/RedTideInfo.htm

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