Red tide high through Monday

Red tide sign

High levels of red tide are back in the air and water around Anna Maria Island, and forecasters predict high levels will continue through Monday, Oct. 29, according to today’s Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) report.

The red tide forecast through Monday, Oct. 29 is mostly high for Anna Maria Island. – University of South Florida/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides.

Between 5 percent and 25 percent more water samples showed medium or high levels of red tide than the previous week, according to the Oct. 26 report, which shows high concentrations of red tide in water samples collected on Oct. 22 at Cortez Beach in Bradenton Beach, and medium concentrations at the Rod and Reel Pier in Anna Maria and Longboat Pass boat ramp in Bradenton Beach.

Respiratory irritation was reported Oct. 18-23 and Oct. 25 at Coquina Beach (Bradenton Beach) and Oct. 18, Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 23-25 at Manatee Beach (Holmes Beach).

Fish kills also were reported in Manatee County over the previous week.

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.

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 toxic algae bloom has been spreading in the southwest Gulf of Mexico for the past year, reaching Anna Maria Island in early August. It was detected in Florida’s east coast waters early this month.