Tampa, Fla. (970 WFLA)- A bloom of the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, was observed from Sarasota to Lee counties in Southwest Florida.
In Southwest Florida over the past week, Karenia brevis was observed at low concentrations in one sample collected from Manatee County, background to high concentrations in seventeen samples collected from Sarasota County, very low to high concentrations in seven samples collected from Charlotte County, and background to high concentrations in sixteen samples collected from Lee County.
Numerous reports of fish kills and respiratory irritation in Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties were received over the past week.
Forecasts for Southwest Florida by the USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red TidesExternal Website predict offshore and then southern transport of surface waters, and southern, onshore movement of subsurface waters from Pinellas to Lee counties over the next three days.
FWC continues to partner with the Florida Department of Health to advise residents and visitors of any potential health impacts. Residents and visitors can contact the DOH’s aquatic toxin experts at 850-245-4250 or contact their local health department for any concern about health safety.
Red tide is a naturally-occurring microscopic alga that has been documented along Florida’s Gulf Coast since the 1840’s and occurs nearly every year. Blooms, or higher-than-normal concentrations, of the Florida red tide alga, Karenia brevis, frequently occur in the Gulf of Mexico.
Red tide begins in the Gulf of Mexico 10 to 40 miles offshore and can be transported inshore by winds and currents.
Graphic Credit: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commision