Signs of the toxic red tide dissipated along the Gulf shoreline from north Gasparilla Island to Clearwater, and that’s the good news.
In the last eight days, water samples tested by the Florida Fish and Game Conservation Commission show no sign or only the natural background counts of the red tide algae — less than a 1,000 cells per liter of water — from Charlotte County’s Boca Grande fishing pier on Gasparilla Island north.
The same cannot be said of the water samples taken in and around Charlotte Harbor and the southern tip of the Cape Haze peninsula.
According to the test results, waters around Sandfly Key in Gasparilla Sound, at the mouths of the Myakka and Peace Rivers and elsewhere in the Harbor revealed medium counts of red tide, 100,000 or more cells per liter of water.
Medium and high counts of the algae — a million or more per liter of water — can trigger respiratory irritations in humans and kill fish and other marine life.
Waters off Boca Grande, in the Pine Island Sound and Captiva show low counts, less than 100,000 and more than 10,000 cells per liter of water; while other samples are “very low,” less than 10,000 cells per liter.
South of Captiva, Sanibel and other water samples taken in Lee County are clean of red tide. Collier County, however, is seeing red tide clinging to the shoreline around Marco Island.