Medium levels of red tide are predicted through at least Monday, Dec. 17 around most of Anna Maria Island, according to the University of South Florida/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides.
For the first time since red tide arrived in local waters last August, no fish kills were reported in Manatee County last week, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The absence of fish kills may be because the nearshore fish population already has been eradicated in recent months, according to Charlie Hunsicker, director of the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department.
The most recent FWC water samples available show these concentrations of red tide:
Not present or background: Mead Point at Perico Island, Dec. 11
Very low: Rod and Reel Pier (Anna Maria) Dec. 10; Longboat Pass boat ramp (Sarasota Bay) Dec. 10
Low: Cortez Beach (Bradenton Beach), Dec. 10
Medium: Palma Sola Bay bridge, Dec. 10.
- Background concentrations of red tide cause no anticipated effects.
- Very low levels cause possible respiratory irritation
- Low levels cause possible respiratory irritation, shellfish harvesting closures and fish kills.
- Medium levels cause probable respiratory irritation, shellfish harvesting closures and fish kills.
- High levels cause all of the above, plus water discoloration.
Respiratory irritation was reported Dec. 9-12 at Coquina Beach (Bradenton Beach) and Dec. 6-7 and Dec. 9 at Manatee Beach (Holmes Beach).
While no fish kills were reported, FWC reported a red tide-distressed seagull on Anna Maria Island on Dec. 13.
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 present in the southwest Gulf of Mexico since October 2017, reaching Anna Maria Island in early August 2018.