Red Tide Update: Bloom Conditions Persist Off the Manatee Coast

For the third week in a row, the harmful algal bloom known as the red tide persists at high levels in the waters around Anna Maria Island and Manatee County.

Water samples taken around Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island on Monday and Tuesday showed “average” levels of Karenia brevis, the algae that causes red tide, the state reported. At medium levels, the red tide is considered to be at bloom strength, and the algae is more likely to cause the death of marine life and respiratory irritation in people.

And a water sample from the Gulf of Mexico side off the 10th Street Pier near Cortez Beach found ‘elevated’ levels of K.shorti.e. more than 1 million body cells per litre.

Mild respiratory irritation was reported this week at Manatee Public Beach and Coquina Beach, according to Mote Marine Laboratory’s live beach condition tracker. Unlike last week, dead fish were not reported on public beaches. FWC did, however, receive a report of dead fish in a channel at Holmes Beach.

A red tide has also been seen at “low” levels in recent days in Palma Sola Bay and lower Tampa Bay south of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

North of Manatee, the red tide maintains a strong hold on the Pinellas County shoreline, where high levels of algae have been observed in many samples along the Gulf shoreline.

To the south in Sarasota County, red tide levels range from very low to high along the coast, with the worst concentrations seen near the bottom of the county around Venice and Sanibel.

red tide forecast 10_7.jpg
This coastal red tide forecast produced by the University of South Florida and the Florida Wildlife Research Institute shows very low to high levels of red tide algae persisting around the southwest coast of Florida over the next several days. . FUS

Red Tide Weekend Forecast

Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and other parts of coastal Manatee County could continue to experience red tide impacts through this weekend, according to a forecast produced by the University of South Florida and Florida Wildlife. Research Institute.

Average seaweed levels are expected to potentially impact the south end of Anna Maria Island and parts of Longboat Key over the next three days, and high levels could affect Gulf and Intracoastal waters around the middle of the AMI. Further north, low levels are expected around the northern tip of Anna Maria and near Palma Sola and the Robinson Reserve.

And more red tide seems to linger offshore.

Satellite images produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show large patches of algae, including red tide, located several miles off Florida’s southwest coast. The bloom is particularly intense off Charlotte, Sarasota and Pinellas counties.

This story was originally published October 7, 2021 11:12 a.m.

Ryan Ballogg is a journalist and columnist for the Bradenton Herald. Since joining the paper in 2018, he has received awards for feature stories, art, and environmental writing in the Florida Press Club’s Excellence in Journalism Contest. Ryan is originally from Florida and graduated from the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.
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