Red tide isn’t dissipating in Charlotte Harbor.
One sample taken May 1 turned up a high count of more than a million cells per liter of water. Two other water samples taken May 3 saw medium concentrations of the toxic algae, 100,000 to a million cells per liter of water, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported Friday.
Medium concentrations popped up in a water sample taken from a canal along Ayrshire Court in Port Charlotte.
The good news for local Gulf beaches from Boca Grande to Venice and Nokomis is water samples showed the red tide was either absent or only showed background counts of less than 1,000 per liter of water.
Only between Sarasota Big Pass and New Pass in Sarasota did concentrations thicken to counts between 10,000 and 100,000 cells per liter of water. To the South, Bonita Springs beaches near Naples in Collier County saw water samples with medium to high counts of red tide.
The red tide algae, Karina brevis, is natural to the Gulf of Mexico in concentrations of fewer than 1,000 cells per liter of water.
But if the concentrations of red tide blooms exceed 100,000 cells per liter of water, humans can experience scratchy throats, coughing, respiratory and other ailments triggered by the toxins. Higher concentrations can kill fish and other marine life.
To learn more about red tide, visit myfwc.com.