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FWC report: Red tide not present on Florida beaches

Posted at 9:32 PM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-31 02:51:19-05

TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. — The most recent FWC red tide report shows the toxic algae that's killed tons of fish along with hundreds of dolphins, turtles, and manatees; is gone.

In Manatee County the report shows just one sample of the algae, Karenia Brevis, came back as a background concentration, which essentially means not present estimated at 1,000 cells or less.

The news is a welcome miracle for locals and tourists alike.

At the height of the red tide crisis over the summer the toxic bloom lined Florida’s Gulf Coast was stretching more than 150 miles from Pinellas County to Collier County.

“I went out a couple of weeks ago, I skin board on Indian Rocks all the time, it was rough the water was super brown there was dead fish everywhere,” Justin Moran said.

Moran and his brother Jason were fishing for snook at Treasure Island Beach.

“It’s cleared up a lot in the past couple of weeks the water got its blue color back," Justin Moran said with a smile.

Scientists told ABC Action News colder temperatures, North winds, and several December storms churned up the gulf so much it broke up the algae, starving it. The recent storm that hit before Christmas hammered the coast with high winds and waves essentially breaking up the bloom and killing the bacteria of the precious light it needs to feed and continue to bloom.

“It’s a great feeling. I mean I love the beach,” Justin Moran said. “I’m honestly out here all the time. We are some beach boys we love it.”

The question now is red tide gone for good. There is a reason to be skeptical. Earlier this week scientists at Mote told ABC Action News the bloom is still a threat. They've reported patches of red tide south of Sarasota County about ten miles off the coast. They say a strong north wind could push the red tide back to the Tampa Bay area.

For now, the week ahead is forecast to be clear of the toxic algae through the New Year. The next update from FWC will be on Jan. 4.