The consequences of high red tide levels mean greater mortality of marine life and severe respiratory tract irritation for anyone visiting the area.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With this beautiful summer weather, it’s hard not to want to hit the beach.
But once there, the red tide could ruin those plans. The organism that causes red tide, Karenia brevis, has filled many Tampa Bay-area waterways with dead marine life and the accompanying smell.
Some places are worse than others – Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater has a handy tool on their website detailing the latest red tide conditions.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium also has a mapping tool that displays several types of information about Southwest Florida beaches during red tides. You can see if there are dead fish, if bathers suffer from respiratory irritation and learn the color of the water.
The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System has an experimental map that you can use to zoom in and out to several beaches in the Gulf of Mexico. This predicts the risk of respiratory irritation given the forecast wind and ocean current.
The consequences of high red tide levels mean greater mortality of marine life and severe respiratory tract irritation for anyone visiting the area. Pinellas County reported Thursday that at least 1,442 tons of dead marine life had been collected.
Red tide cleanup efforts have lasted for weeks in St. Petersburg, and dead fish continue to wash up on shore. People who live here say that without these cleanup efforts, downtown would be unbearable.
“No, I wouldn’t come here and run if they hadn’t cleaned up,” Jeff Waite said. “It was pretty bad.”
Waite just returned to St. Petersburg a few weeks ago. He said that soon after it was installed, dead fish and other sea life were washing up everywhere.
“Before the red tide hit, it was amazing to race here,” he said. “Unfortunately the red tide has come down here. Lots of dead fish. I think the city has done an amazing job in a short time.”
10 Tampa Bay reporter Malique Rankin contributed to this report.
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