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Red tide effects hitting some Tampa Bay area beaches

Pinellas County reporting red tide problems
Florida Red Tide
Posted at 3:46 PM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 23:09:56-04

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — Kyle and Joanna are here from Ohio celebrating their wedding. They picked the beaches of Pinellas County to spend their honeymoon.

“We’ve never been to the Clearwater area and it looked just gorgeous from all the pictures. And obviously, the pictures don’t do it justice. It’s absolutely fantastic down here," Kyle said.

The couple says they’ve been enjoying the beaches and haven’t noticed any issues despite recent reports of red tide.

MAP: Planning a beach day? Here's how to check if red tide has been reported

“I heard of it. A little seaweed here and there. But other than that the water’s been crystal clear. Perfect to swim in," said Joanna.

They didn’t notice a few dead fish in the water and on the sand, likely a result of red tide.

Red tide is a higher than normal concentration of microscopic algae that can produce toxic chemicals. It can affect marine life and people. The airborne toxins can lead to respiratory irritation. FWC said it's safe to swim, but can cause some people to suffer skin irritation and burning eyes. It can also contaminate shellfish.

“It’s not the most fun to be around. It causes lots of dead fish and stuff. It just really takes away the fun of coming to the beach," said Savannah Burk.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released the latest red tide report on Friday afternoon.

FWC reported K. brevis was observed at very low to medium concentrations in and offshore of Pinellas County, background to medium concentrations in and offshore of Hillsborough County, background to medium concentrations in and offshore of Manatee County, background concentrations in and offshore of Sarasota County, low concentrations in Charlotte County, background to medium concentrations in Lee County, and background to medium concentrations in Collier County.

Fish kills were reported in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Lee counties.

“It does make it unpleasant to come because it takes away from the fun and you have to smell it and that’s not fun. It kind of ruins the experience," said Emily Burgraff.

FWC said respiratory irritation was reported in Pinellas County over the past week.

Dead fish were spotted along the shores at Sand Key Beach on Thursday. On Friday, people found dead fish on Indian Rocks Beach.

"I mean that was kind of disappointing. At first when I saw them I thought well maybe this is just an isolated area but we’ve walked all the way down and it’s like there’s more and more," said Donald and Pam Warlick, spotting them on their first walk along the beach on their vacation from Texas.

Here is the latest report from FWC:

Red Tide Mid-Week Update for June 11, 2021

Current Conditions

Current Conditions
A patchy bloom of the red tide organism, Karenia brevis, persists in Southwest Florida. Over the past week, K. brevis was detected in 71 samples, with bloom concentrations (>100,000 cells/liter) observed in 17 samples: six samples from Pinellas County, four samples from Hillsborough County, five samples from Manatee County, one sample from Lee County and one sample from Collier County. Additional details are provided below.

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

For more details, please visit: https://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/health/fish-kills-hotline/.

Respiratory Irritation

Respiratory irritation suspected to be related to red tide was reported over the past week in Southwest Florida in Pinellas County. For current information, please visit: https://visitbeaches.org.

Forecast

Forecasts by the USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides for Pinellas to northern Monroe counties predict northern movement of surface waters and minimal net transport of subsurface waters in most areas over the next four days.