ENGLEWOOD — Zoe Bass summed up conditions on Manasota Key beaches in two words Friday:
“Pretty stinky,” Bass said of the stench left by dead fish along the Gulf shoreline and in the water.
Bass, like others, reported dead fish were floating in Lemon Bay and Gasparilla Sound between Placida and Boca Grande. A smattering of dead fish tangled in mats of sea grass and along sea walls floated in a finger canal on the southern end of Manasota Key on Friday.
Fish kills result when the toxic red tide algae, Karenia brevis, concentrations exceed 100,000 cells per liter of water. When cell concentrations reach a million or more, the algae can stain the water a reddish brown.
For more than a week, medium and high concentrations of the algae have turned up in water samples collected by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission from beaches and waterways from Boca Grande north to Longboat Key in Manatee County. The most recent samples posted on the state’s interactive red tide map, collected Tuesday and Wednesday, continued that trend.
Beaches in Venice and Nokomis all showed high concentrations.
Humans can suffer from coughing, respiratory and other ailments when the toxins are airborne.
As one of the two state primary permit holders, Bass oversees Coastal Wildlife Club sea turtle patrol volunteers and patrols the Sarasota County portion of Manasota Key.
While the air stank from decaying fish, Bass said her throat wasn’t irritated Friday from red tide as it normally would be.
Further south at Charlotte County’s public Englewood Beach, Mark Timchula reported on his daily Facebook video how conditions improved from earlier this week.
“Don’t really smell anything this morning,” Timchula said. “It seems much better. Just a little tiny bit in the air.”
His video also caught a glimpse of a Charlotte County crew gathering up dead fish from the shoreline of the public beach that washed up overnight.