While things looked better on the Gulf beaches this past weekend, Pinellas County reported on Wednesday July 27 that red tide conditions were persisting or worsening off the Pinellas coast.
“After brief improvements over the weekend, red tide conditions off the Pinellas County coast have deteriorated again, although still better than during peak bloom,” reads -on in the county press release.
On Tuesday, county water quality monitoring showed average and high levels of K brevis, the algae that causes red tide, from Pass-a-Grille north to Honeymoon Island. Fort De Soto Park, however, had very low concentrations, and Fred Howard Park had none.
Cleanup crews were inactive earlier this week, according to the county, as no significant fish kills were reported. However, the county said, if the fish kill again, the crews will reactivate.
Residents can report fish kills to the FWC through the FWC Reporter appby calling 800-636-0511 or by submit a report online. Large fish killed should be reported to county here. Residents who find dead fish near their property can scoop them up with a slotted spoon and dispose of them with their regular trash or call their local municipality for further advice.
Learn more about the red tide
Red tide can cause respiratory and other problems in people who are sensitive to it. The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas advises residents not to swim where they see dead fish. If you have chronic respiratory problems, exercise caution and consider staying away from areas where medium to high levels of red tide are reported.
Pinellas County contributes to the Red Tide Respiratory Prediction Tool for anyone considering a visit to the beach. Visit St. Pete/Clearwater maintains a beach status dashboard that also includes this information on beachesupdate.com.
The FDOH – Pinellas advises residents not to harvest or eat shellfish or distressed or dead fish in red tide locations, and to keep your pets away from water, scum from sea and dead sea life.
Residents living in beach areas are advised to close windows and run air conditioning (ensuring that the A/C filter is maintained according to manufacturer’s specifications). If you’re outdoors, the FDOH-Pinellas says you may want to wear a filtering paper mask, especially if onshore winds are blowing.
Florida Poison Control Centers has a toll-free 24/7 hotline for reporting illnesses, including health effects from red tide exposure at 1-800-222-1222.
Reminder of the ban on fertilizers: Red tide blooms can be aggravated by excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. The county reminds residents that there is a ban on fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus until September 30, and that phosphorus cannot be used at any time of the year unless a soil test only confirms that it is necessary.
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