ENGLEWOOD — Manasota Key can give a sigh of relief when it comes to red tide, but not so with Venice and Sarasota.
The Florida Fish and Game Wildlife Commission reported Wednesday water samples tested over the past week turned out high concentrations of toxic red tide algae, a million or more cells per liter of water, from Service Club Park south to Caspersen Beach in Venice. Other samples in Sarasota Bay turned up red tide.
A water sample collected Monday at the public Manasota Beach on Manasota Key turned up medium concentrations of red tide, 100,000 or more cells per liter of water, while low concentrations, 10,000 or more cells, turned up in water samples taken from Blind Pass Beach.
The good news is the water samples collected from Englewood Beach and south Manasota Key, Gasparilla Island and Boca Grande, along with elsewhere in Charlotte and Lee counties showed no signs of red tide. The toxic algae did turn up in water samples taken five or more miles offshore from Naples in Collier County.
Red tide may be natural to the Gulf, but in medium concentrations — those between 100,000 to a million algae cells per liter of water — it can lead to respiratory irritations in humans, fish kills, along with deaths of marine mammals and sea turtles. When counts reach more than a million cells per liter, the water can darken to a reddish-brown. The FWC has records of toxic blooms and associated fish kills dating back to the late 1800s.
The present red tide blooms first appeared offshore in November 2017. Red tide intensified significantly over the summer months from Pinellas County south to Collier.
For more information, visit myfwc.com.