The red tide pushed toward the Southwest Florida coast by Hurricane Ian and recent cold fronts continues to bloom just offshore.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed Friday that red tide reached bloom levels last week in an area that stretches offshore from south Sarasota County, past the mouth of Charlotte Harbor, all the way down to Sanibel Island.
There have been no fish kills reported related to red tide so far this year, according to the commission.
However, reports of respiratory irritation caused by the red tide were reported at various Sarasota County beaches last week, most recently at Venice Beach on Oct. 27; the Venice North Jetty Beach and Nokomis Beach on Oct. 26; and Manasota key Beach on Oct. 24.
Nine samples collected offshore of Sarasota County showed “background” to “high” concentrations of the organism that causes red tide, Karenia Brevis, according to an update issued on Friday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The commission found “background” to “high” concentrations of red tide in 19 samples from Charlotte County and 25 samples from Lee County.
Red tide was not found in samples taken from Manatee, Pinellas, or Monroe counties.
Image Credits: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission