NewsRed Tide


FWC: Very low level of red tide detected in Pinellas County

Posted at 11:27 AM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 19:52:58-04

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Red tide is creeping back into Tampa Bay, but it isn't something to be worried about yet, according to Pinellas County experts.

The latest red tide report shows one very low level of Karenia Brevis, or red tide, discovered 12 miles offshore from Honeymoon Island in Dunedin. The sample was taken last week and the area will be retested on Friday, November 1.

Kelli Hammer-Levy, Pinellas County's Interim Public Works Director, says it's not a cause for concern. "We're used to seeing very low levels of red tide. The concerns from the large 2018 bloom are likely making us all more sensitive to seeing any trace of red tide," she said.

FWC says there is no way to predict if or when a bloom could impact Pinellas County's coastline, but they're keeping an eye on the area.

Small traces were also detected in five samples from Sarasota County in the latest red tide map.

It was also found in seven samples from Lee County and nine samples from Collier County.

Red tide is more of a concern South of Tampa Bay in Charlotte, Lee and Collier Counties, where dead fish and respiratory irritation have been detected in some areas.

The 2018 red tide bloom spanned along every coast of Florida and cost the state more than $130 million, killing 850,000 pounds of fish and sea life.

Red tide does occur naturally, but scientists are studying why the blooms sometimes last longer and are more destructive.

Florida Fish and Wildlife will issue the next status report on Friday. They also plan to re-sample areas around Pinellas County, including offshore Honeymoon Island.

Officials stress that the area around Honeymoon Island is safe to swim in, and the levels detected were extremely low.

You can read the more current red tide report here.

If you see dead fish anywhere along Florida's coast, you can call 1-800-636-0511 or report it on FWC's website.