ENGLEWOOD — Water samples drawn near several Sarasota County Gulf beaches show low concentrations of red tide for the first time this season, state scientists reported Friday.
At the same time, the samples taken in Charlotte Harbor have increased from medium to high concentrations this week, according to the Florida. A sample taken off Ponce de Leon Park in Charlotte Harbor registered a high concentration of the algae, while another near the El Jobean Bridge showed medium concentrations for the second week.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission samples and analyzes waters up and down Florida’s coasts and displays the information on interactive maps that update each day at 5:30 p.m. at myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide.
Low concentrations turned up at several points along the coast, including Stump Pass, Englewood Beach, Blind Pass Beach, Manasota Beach near Englewood; Brohard Beach (dog beach), Service Club Park, and Venice Beach in Venice; and North Jetty Beach, Nokomis Beach on Casey Key.
Turtle Beach off Sarasota also showed low concentrations of the algae.
The red tide algae 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.
Mote Laboratory, which monitors Sarasota County beaches, said no signs of irritation were reported this week, and no fish kills were reported.
Red tide has been showing up in water samples for weeks near Fort Myers and Naples area beaches and bays.
Samples this week showed either low, very low or no algae reported in those areas. Boca Grande Pass showed a low concentration this week.