Red tide bloom along Bay Area beaches

- Usually when you go to the beach and take in a big breath, you usually smell the fresh salt air. Right now on Pinellas beaches, you might smell something else: Red tide, and it's not pretty.

Red tide is a tiny microorganism that blooms in the Gulf occasionally and ends up coming into shore.

It is nasty. In high enough concentrations, you cough, your eyes water, you may itch. In people with chronic respiratory problems like asthma,  the symptoms can be even more severe.

Florida Fish and Wildife took water samples and identified red tide in several locations, including beaches along Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties. There were higher concentrations in samples collected from Pinellas County. Background to low concentrations were found in Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

Red tide secretes a toxin which affects the central nervous system of fish and makes it impossible for them to breath.

Last week, there were fish kills on Madeira and Indian Shores Beaches.

Scientists say the red tide is slowly moving south. Beachgoers say not fast enough.

For more information and to see the map of current red tide blooms, head to the Florida Fish and Wildlife website. 


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