Red Tide

The red tide bloom that has killed uncounted numbers of fish and marine life has decreased in Tampa Bay. But high concentrations of the organism that causes red tide is now being found along the Gulf Coast, from Hernando to Sarasota counties.

The latest report from state environmental officials shows the organism has been found in 109 sites. High concentrations were found at 27 sites in Sarasota County; 12 in Pinellas; seven in Pasco; and three each in Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

Gulf Beaches Experiencing Heavy Red Tide Outbreaks

Jul 26, 2021

Red Tide continues to cause fish kills in Tampa Bay, but the blooms are becoming less intense, according to Friday's red tide status report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Heavy concentrations are now being found along the Pinellas beaches, and fish kills are being reported off Pasco and Hernando counties.

The latest state update Wednesday shows red tide blooms are persisting along Florida's Gulf Coast and in Tampa Bay.

Fish kills and respiratory irritations suspected to be related to red tide are now being reported as far north as Hernando County, according to the red tide status report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

It's been a month since Gov. Ron DeSantis last visited St. Petersburg to discuss red tide.

Since then, Pinellas County crews have hauled more than 1,320 tons of dead fish from Tampa Bay. DeSantis says the state is already supporting the efforts with money and resources.

"We developed a dedicated funding source in the annual budget to respond to red tide events, to respond to blue-green algae and significant impacts, just like the one that we've been experiencing now," he said.

More than two dozen businesses and conservation groups Monday asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency to help fight the outbreak of red tide in Tampa Bay.

The hundreds of tons of dead marine life discovered in recent weeks has included manatees and goliath groupers — which can weigh hundreds of pounds -- as well as pufferfish, eel, horseshoe crabs, sheepshead, mullet, snook, red drum, tarpon, sharks, grouper and catfish.

Amid the stench of dead fish, several hundred people marched along St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront Saturday and called on the state to deal with the growing outbreak of red tide.

The protesters shouted “Save our bay, make polluters pay," as they marched from the St. Pete Pier and past city workers scooping fish out of the Vinoy Marina basin.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Sunshine City and its sparkling waterfront parks have become the center of Tampa Bay’s Red Tide crisis.

Rafts of dead fish are washing ashore more quickly than crews can gather the carcasses. Workers have picked up 477 tons of dead marine life from the coastline in recent weeks, according to Mayor Rick Kriseman. That accounts for the overwhelming majority of more than 600 tons picked up across Pinellas County.

Thousands of fish killed by red tide continued to litter the St. Petersburg waterfront Monday, even after 15 tons had been scooped out of the water by city crews.

Chris Kuhn was walking his dog along the waterfront, shaking his head at the carnage just offshore.

"I've lived down here for seven years. I've never noticed it being this bad, like when you're walking along the bayfront, I've walked down here often — I've never seen this many dead fish right here.

Pinellas County health officials have issued recommendations to people with respiratory issues to avoid areas experiencing the blooms.

Respiratory irritation related to red tide also was reported over the past week in Pinellas and Sarasota counties.

On Sunday, the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas said that anyone with respiratory problems consider staying away from beaches or go into an air-conditioned space.

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.

Red Tide Reported In Portions Of Tampa Bay

Jun 4, 2021

The Hillsborough County Health Department on Thursday reported a red tide bloom in the waters of lower and middle Tampa Bay.

Officials say the blooms are located near Moody Point, Manbirtee Key, Camp Key, and Little Cockroach Island.

They say the blooms could cause fish kills in some areas.

Residents may experience respiratory issues that can mirror a cold. Others with breathing problems, such as asthma, could experience more severe symptoms.

Anyone experiencing breathing issues should stay away from beach areas or remain indoors.

Do Masks Work for Red Tide?

May 12, 2021

It seems those COVID masks might just be the thing to mitigate the harm of respiratory irritation due to red tide. Dr. Mike Parsons, professor of marine science at Florida Gulf Coast University, explains that the cells that make up the toxic dinoflagellate can actually break up in the surf, and become a part of the sea spray. People can then breathe the toxin in, and that can lead to various levels of respiratory irritation, including an itchy, scratchy throat and a burning sensation.

Red tide algae blooms have been detected recently in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in its Friday report that low concentrations of the red tide organism Karenia brevis were detected in Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Fish kills related to red tide have been reported in Manatee, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier. Respiratory irritations were also recorded in those counties, including in Sarasota.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, wants red tide forecasting to be included as essential work during federal government shutdowns through the Harmful Algal Bloom Essential Forecasting Act.

"It's really critical to Florida, especially when you look back, we had a 15-month timeframe where we had pretty intense red tide, all over water quality issues, so we just can't afford to be shut down," he said.

Red tide blooms have been reported in Sarasota and Charlotte counties this past week. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a Friday afternoon update that multiple fish kills in both counties are likely related to the toxic algae.

Manatee County does not have a recorded bloom, but low concentrations of the red tide organism Karenia brevis were observed there. Respiratory irritations were also reported in Manatee and Sarasota.

Elevated levels of red tide have been detected off the coast of Sarasota, the Florida Department of Health reported on Friday.

The state also received reports of respiratory irritation associated with the algal bloom, a release from the health department in Sarasota said.

Signs warning beachgoers about red tide are being placed at Longboat Key, Bird Key Park, North Lido Beach, Lido Casino, South Lido, Siesta Beach, Turtle Beach, Nokomis Beach and North Jetty Beach.

Red Tide Connected to Dead Birds

Mar 15, 2021

Recently published research in the Journal of Comparative Pathology associates the dramatic bird die-off of 2018 to the unusual Bisgaard Taxon 40 bacteria.

A snook lies dead due to red tide in Bradenton Beach, Florida.
Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

A team led by University of Florida researchers is receiving nearly $280,000 to study the social and economic costs of harmful algal blooms.

Gov. Scott Calls For Action On Red Tide Amid Political Clamor

Aug 3, 2018
Greg Allen / NPR

Political broadsides continue over who is to blame for ongoing water-quality problems across South Florida, as Gov. Rick Scott on Friday ordered more action to address red tide in coastal communities.