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Red Tide Detected in Sarasota, Manatee

Respiratory problems related to the higher levels of red tide are being reported by beach-goers.

Florida red tide has been detected at higher levels this week along Sarasota and Mantee county beaches, according to Mote Marine Laboratory.

Scientists are reminding beachgoers of the risks and hazards of red tide, including respiratory problems from exposure.

Beach water samples collected on Monday by the Sarasota County Health Department and analyzed by Mote showed a marked increase in red tide algae (Karenia brevis) over test results from last week.

Increased levels of K. brevis were found at Brohard, Caspersen, Manasota, Blind Pass beaches and others.

As of Jan. 16, the bloom was detected in low to high concentrations alongshore and inshore of Manatee County south through Lee County.

Recent satellite images showed that the bloom extends alongshore and offshore of southern Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties with patches present off the Florida Keys, according to the multi-partner monitoring report compiled by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI).

Airborne Toxins Blowing Ashore

Beach-goers this week reported respiratory irritation caused by red tide's airborne toxins blowing ashore.

Dead fish were found onshore at several Southwest Florida beaches, and the sighting are believed to be related to the bloom.

  • Cases of respiratory irritation were reported by visitors at Coquina Beach, Nokomis, Venice Beach, Venice North Jetty, and Manasota Key.
  • Sightings of dead fish were reported in Nokomis, around the Venice North Jetty, at Venice Beach and on Manasota Key.

Sarasota County is scheduled to remove fish from county-owned beaches today and tomorrow, Jan. 18 and 19.

Take Precaution for People, Pets

 In areas with red tide, beachgoers may experience coughing, sneezing, scratchy throat or teary eyes. These effects should be temporary and go away when those affected leave the beach. However, people with asthma or other chronic respiratory impairments should be aware of places where red tide impacts are reported and should avoid those areas. Red tide can trigger their symptoms and potentially cause serious illness.

Pet owners should take precautions. Dogs that lick their fur or paws after swimming in red tide areas, or eat dead fish on the beach, may experience gastrointestinal illness or other symptoms from ingesting toxins, which can be harmful to their health. Pets should not be allowed to consume or play with dead fish and they should be rinsed with clear water after a beach swim.

For More Information on Red Tide

  • Mote’s Beach Conditions Report is updated as often as twice daily at: www.mote.org/beaches. Residents and visitors can also register to receive email reports about specific beaches. For telephone updates, call 941-BEACHES (232-2437) and press "1" for Sarasota County beaches.
  • Statewide updates on red tide are normally available on Wednesday and Friday evenings from FWRI. Visit MyFWC.com/Research and click the link for red tide updates.
  • Report fish kills to FWRI’s Fish Kill Hotline by calling 1-800-636-0511 or visiting MyFWC.com/FishKill
  • Check for closures of shellfish harvest beds due to red tide: http://www.floridaaquaculture.com/RedTide/RedTideInfo.htm
Richard M. Swier January 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Taxpayers have poured tens, if not hundreds on millions into Mote Marine to solve this red tide problem. The return on our investment? Mote Marine wants more money to study red tide. Mote Marine is a sink hole for tax payer money.
sylvia earle January 19, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Mote Marine Lab does not control the ocean any more than the National Weather Service controls storms, but owing to the work of scientists at Mote and other institutions, it is possible to inform the public about the nature of what is happening and provide sound advice about how to respond. Individuals such as I happily help support to Mote Marine Lab, a place that gives back enormous dividends to everyone -- including those who benefit but do not contribute. Sylvia Earle, former NOAA Chief Scientist, Mote Trustee, National Geographic Explorer in Residence.
sylvia earle January 19, 2013 at 04:31 PM
By the way -- Tens or hundreds of millions??? If only ocean research attracted such support! As my mother used to say, You should open your eyes before opening your mouth. More from Sylvia Earle
Randy Moore January 19, 2013 at 04:52 PM
It's so easy to pick on non-profit organizations and especially the ones focused on science. I do not believe Mote has ever had any intention to "solve" the red tide problem or any other problem in the aquatic environment. Their more modest contribution is to help expand awareness about the characteristics of the toxin. I know that may seem too nuanced for someone who sees the world as "black or white," but perhaps a better understanding of how science and policy work together would be a more beneficial use of your time.
Brad Lasota January 24, 2013 at 03:31 AM
They also make a great deal of money from the caviar they produce... Not sure what that says about environmental research laboratory

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