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Red tide continues to plague Sarasota beaches

Map of red tide reported
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
While red tide is no longer being found along the Pinellas beaches, it is still found along Sarasota beaches and to the south.

While red tide is no longer being found along the Pinellas beaches, it is still found along Sarasota beaches and to the south.

Red tide continues to bedevil Sarasota Bay.

State Department of Health officials have updated their health advisory for Sarasota County, reminding the public that elevated levels of red tide continue to be detected at all 16 Sarasota County beaches.

The advisory was extended to Longboat Key Beach and Bird Key Park / Ringling Causeway, as both beaches are showing low to medium levels of red tide present.

Medium levels of red tide were found this week at New Pass on Sarasota Bay.

Red tide continues to be detected in low to medium levels at following beaches; North Lido Beach, Lido Casino Beach, South lido Beach, Siesta Key Beach, Turtle Beach, Nokomis Beach, North Jetty Beach, Venice Beach, Service Club Beach, Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Beach, Casperson Beach, Manasota Key Beach, and Blind Pass Beach.

Fish kills and respiratory distress were also reported in Sarasota County.

Some people may have mild respiratory symptoms such as eye, nose, and throat irritation like those associated with the common cold or seasonal sinus allergies. Some people with existing breathing problems — such as asthma — might experience more severe effects.

The state Department of Health makes the following recommendations:

  • Do not swim around dead fish.
  • If you have chronic respiratory problems, consider staying away from the beach as red tide can affect your breathing.
  • Do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish. If fish are healthy, rinse fillets with tap or bottled water and throw out the guts.
  • Keep pets and livestock away from water, sea foam, and dead sea life.
  • Residents living in beach areas who experience respiratory symptoms are advised to close windows and run the air conditioner (ensuring that the A/C filter is maintained according to the manufacturer's specifications).
  • If outdoors, residents may choose to wear paper filter masks, especially if onshore winds are blowing.
Map of red tide
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Map of red tide

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.