Red tide weekend forecast good

The red tide forecast predicts very low concentrations of the toxic algae in Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay waters at the north tip of Anna Maria Island, and low concentrations around the rest of the Island through at least Monday, Oct. 22, according to the University of South Florida/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides.

Hurricane Michael did not destroy the red tide bloom that showed up in local waters on Aug. 3, but local levels are staying low, according to an Oct. 19 FWC report.

The report shows low concentrations of red tide in water samples on Oct. 15 at Cortez Beach and Longboat Pass (Bradenton Beach), with very low concentrations at the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria and none at the Palma Sola Bay bridge.

Background concentrations of red tide cause no anticipated effects. Low levels can cause respiratory irritation, shellfish harvesting closures and possible fish kills. Medium levels can cause respiratory irritation, shellfish harvesting closures and probable fish kills. High levels can cause all of the above, plus water discoloration.

Respiratory irritation was reported on Oct. 11, Oct. 13 and Oct. 17-18 at Coquina Beach (Bradenton Beach) and Oct. 11-13 and Oct. 16-18 at Manatee Beach (Holmes Beach).

No fish kills were reported in Manatee County from Oct. 12-19.

Red tide is a type of algae that emits a neurotoxin when it blooms. Deadly to fish, sea turtles, marine mammals and shorebirds that feed on affected fish, red tide makes shellfish unfit to eat, and can cause respiratory irritation in people, especially those with asthma, COPD or other respiratory diseases.

The bloom has been spreading in the southwest Gulf of Mexico for the past year and was first detected in Florida’s east coast waters early this month.