Red tide forecast clear

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – The red tide forecast for Anna Maria Island is clear through Sunday, Feb. 24, according to today’s NOAA report and the Feb. 20 report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Background concentrations of red tide continue to drift in area waters, causing respiratory irritation that was reported in Manatee County last week. Red tide also can be carried on the wind to areas where the water is free of the microalgae.

Florida red tide, or Karenia brevis, emits a neurotoxin when it blooms that is deadly to marine life, can make shellfish unfit to eat and can cause respiratory irritation in people, especially those with asthma, COPD or emphysema.

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, Caribbean seawater brought to Florida’s west coast on the Loop Current, the Mississippi River, Saharan dust blown across the Atlantic Ocean to Florida’s waters, and fertilizer and animal waste runoff.