ENGLEWOOD — Dead fish washed ashore onto Englewood Beach on Monday.
The fish were in an advanced stage of decay, according to reports. But even that is a telltale sign that the toxic red tide algae in lurking in local waters.
Charlotte County sent out a crew to clean up the fish along the shoreline.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service released a beach hazards statement for Charlotte and Lee counties because of possible respiratory problems for people who could encounter red tide. The statement was to stay in effect through Tuesday evening and warned of respiratory irritation as well as sneezing, coughing and teary eyes. The federal agency warned that irritation from red tide can vary from beach to beach and depending on the time of day.
The most-recent samples collected by the Florida Fish and Conservation Commission turned up very low concentrations — less than 10,000 cells per liter of water — from Boca Grande Pass and Blind Pass Beach on Manasota Key.
That, however, hasn’t been the story for Gulf beaches to the north from Nokomis to Pinellas County. Those beaches have been seeing higher concentrations of red tide — concentrations 100,000 to a million cells or more per liter of water — causing respiratory ailments and fish kills.
Mote Marine Laboratory at visitbeaches.org has been reporting how dead fish and marine have been washing up onto shore and beachgoers suffering from scratchy throats on beaches north of Nokomis.
For the past few weeks, Charlotte County beaches other nearby waters have been free of red tide toxins.
Since this summer, a trail of red tide blooms have crawled up the coast from Collier and Lee counties, into Charlotte Harbor and then in Sarasota, Manatee and Tampa Bay. Now, the algae blooms are working their way into Pasco County.
To learn more about red tide, visit myfwc.com.
For forecast information from the National Weather Service, visit tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/hab/gomx.html.