Pinellas County officials say they are beginning to clear their beaches of marine life apparently killed by red tide.
A statement released Tuesday afternoon says satellite imagery shows a patchy bloom of red tide off the Pinellas coast. Forecasts expect it to move north for the next seven to 10 days.
Fish kills have been reported in several locations along Pinellas gulf beaches, in the Intracoastal Waterway, and Boca Ciega Bay.
Moderate to high concentrations of red tide have been reported from Treasure Island north to Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach. Lower concentrations have been reported from Pass-a-Grille south along the coast, all the way to South Marco Beach in Collier County.
Residents and visitors can check beach conditions at beachesupdate.com.
Red tide kills marine life — including fish, birds, sea turtles, and other marine animals — by producing a toxin that affects their central nervous system.
The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas said the bloom could cause mild respiratory symptoms, such as eye, nose and throat irritation. People with asthma or other breathing problems may experience more severe symptoms.
The agency recommends that people with symptoms should stay off the beach and go into an air conditioned space.