ENGLEWOOD — Water samples from Gasparilla Sound in Charlotte County showed “very low” traces of red tide this week.
While Sarasota County and Englewood’s beaches remained free of toxic red tide algae blooms, the waters around Placida, Gasparilla Island and Boca Grande showed low concentrations, according to data released Thursday by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The situation is worse to the south. The state reported Wednesday that waters around Pine Island Sound — just south of Charlotte Harbor in Lee County — and points south showed medium concentrations of the algae.
Water samples collected further south near Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Estero and Naples showed high concentrations — 100,000 to 1 million cells per liter of water.
Medium to high concentrations can cause coughing and other respiratory ailments in humans. Respiratory ailments have been reported in Lee and Collier counties. The toxins are often released when winds and waves break up the cells.
Intense red tide blooms are also known to kill fish and other marine life, including marine mammals.
The FWC describes intense red tide blooms as forming “as a result of the interactions between biology, chemistry, and ocean currents that unite nutrients with light and carry red tide to the beach.
The algae initially propagates in the Gulf of Mexico 10 to 40 miles offshore and can be transported inshore by winds and currents. Blooms of higher-than-normal concentrations of the red tide algae typically occur annually in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the FWC.
The FWC will issue its next red tide update Jan. 8 on myfwc.com.
Call 866-300-9399 at any time from anywhere in Florida to hear a recording about red tide conditions throughout the state. Callers outside of Florida can dial 727-502-4952. Standard calling charges apply.
To learn more about red tide, visit myfwc.com.