Red tide still rolls along Boca Grande beaches

September 14, 2018
By Marcy Shortuse

A bloom of the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, persists in Southwest Florida and extends from northern Pinellas to Lee counties along 125 miles of coastline. Aerial surveys conducted on Sept. 6 and Sept. 11 as well as recent water sampling indicate that the bloom of K. brevis still extends offshore (10 miles or more) in some areas. A bloom of K. brevis was also observed in Northwest Florida for the first time this past week.
Observations of >1,000,000 K. brevis cells per liter (“high” concentrations) occurred in samples collected in or offshore of Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties, and compared to last week, multiple locations in Pinellas, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties showed increased K. brevis concentrations. Decreased cell concentrations were observed in Collier County. In Northwest Florida, very low to low cell concentrations (<100,000 cells per liter) were reported from Okaloosa to Bay counties.
In Southwest Florida, reports of fish kills were received for multiple locations in and/or offshore of Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and Lee counties. In Northwest Florida, reports of fish kills were received in and offshore of Panama City Beach (Bay County). Respiratory irritation was reported in Southwest Florida (in Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and Lee counties).
Forecasts by the USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides external website for Pinellas to northern Monroe counties predict net southern movement of surface waters for most areas and net southeastern transport of subsurface waters over the next three days. Forecasts for Northwest Florida predict net eastern transport of surface and subsurface waters.