Red tide stays away

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – No red tide is predicted for Manatee County waters through Monday, Feb. 11, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Manatee County waters were clear of the toxic algae and no red tide-related fish kills were reported locally over the past week.

However, respiratory irritation was reported in Manatee County, according to the report. Red tide can be carried by winds to areas where the water is clear of the algae.

Statewide, background concentrations were found in four water samples in Southwest Florida, where the bloom began in October 2017.

Red tide has been in Anna Maria Island waters on and off since Aug. 3.

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.

Scientists say that salinity, currents, temperature and light play a part in the formation of blooms, as do nutrients from Florida’s natural phosphate deposits, the Loop Current, which brings Caribbean seawater to Florida’s west coast, the Mississippi River, iron-rich Saharan dust blown across the Atlantic Ocean to Florida’s waters, and fertilizer and animal waste runoff.