Weekend red tide forecast low on Island

Red tide sign

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – Low levels of red tide are forecast through Monday, Jan. 14, according to today’s report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Low concentrations appeared in water samples at the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria and the Longboat Pass boat ramp in Bradenton Beach on Jan. 7. Very low concentrations were recorded at Palma Sola Bay the same day.

No fish kills were reported in Manatee County this week, but respiratory irritation was reported on Jan. 3, Jan. 5-7 and Jan. 9-10 at Coquina Beach and Jan. 3, Jan. 5, Jan. 7 and Jan. 9-10 at Manatee Beach, according to the FWC.

The rest of the state was clear of red tide through Jan. 10 with two exceptions – Collier County had high levels and low levels were recorded in the Florida Keys.

Medium and high levels are predicted on barrier islands off Sarasota County this weekend, according to the University of South Florida/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides.

The start of the New Year brought a resurgence of the red tide bloom, which had dwindled the last week of 2018 to one background concentration in Palma Sola Bay – the only evidence in the state of the toxic algae.

The bloom began in Southwest Florida in October 2017 and arrived in Anna Maria Island waters on Aug. 3; it has now surpassed the most recent record red tide of 2005-06.

Florida red tide, or Karenia brevis, is a type of microalgae that emits a neurotoxin when it blooms. Deadly to marine life, red tide also can make shellfish unfit to eat and can cause respiratory irritation in people.

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