Red tide forecast medium through Monday

Red tide cells
Karenia brevis (red tide) cells - Mote Marine | Submitted

Medium levels of patchy red tide are predicted through at least Monday, Nov. 19 around Anna Maria Island, with high levels to the north and south of the Island, according to the University of South Florida/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides.

The Nov. 16 FWC report shows medium concentrations of red tide in water samples collected on Nov. 13 in the Gulf of Mexico at Longboat Pass boat ramp in Sarasota Bay, Cortez Beach in Bradenton Beach, the Rod and Reel Pier in Anna Maria, School Key and Mead Point in lower Tampa Bay and at the Palma Sola Bay bridge.

Fish kills also were reported in Manatee County over the past 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 in October.