MADEIRA BEACH (FOX 13) - The red tide algae bloom continues to linger along the southwest Florida coast, with increasing amounts detected off Pinellas County, according to FWC’s latest report.
The state’s weekly update, released Friday afternoon, confirmed that the Karenia brevis organism remained at “medium” levels in the Madeira Beach area – that’s a high enough concentration to cause respiratory irritation and fish kills, both of which were noted in Pinellas County over the last week.
Samples at other Pinellas County locations – including John’s Pass, Treasure Island, Sunset Beach, and Pass-a-Grille – now show low levels of the algae as well.
Further south, the bloom remained at high levels across much of Manatee and Sarasota counties.
The months-long algae bloom has sent dead fish, manatees, dolphins, and other sea creatures washing up along Southwest Florida beaches for weeks. Toxins from the bloom are also irritating to beachgoers, leading to empty beaches and even an increase in visits to doctors in the area.
While red tide blooms are natural and regularly occur, many local experts agree this year’s bloom is among the worst in recent memory.