TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - The red tide algae has been detected at high levels for the first time in the waters off Hillsborough County, according to a new report released Friday, though the area of concern is far from Hillsborough County proper.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in addition to Pinellas County, a few locations in Hillsborough County were showing low to high concentrations of the Karenia brevis red tide organism offshore.
The FWC report identified the high-testing "Hillsborough" location as Bunce's Pass, which is along Fort De Soto at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Hillsborough locations closer to Tampa did not show signs of the bloom.
According to FWC, "high" concentrations of the algae are enough to cause fish kills and respiratory irritation.
Fish kills and respiratory irritation were reported in Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota counties, but multiple locations in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Collier Counties showed decreased cell concentrations, FWC said, citing surface currents that were likely playing a role in transporting the cells northwest.
In fact, no "high" concentration was detected off of Manatee County for the first time in a while.
FWC said forecasts predict the the surface waters to continue moving northwest over the coming days.
SkyFOX flew over the coast today and red tide blooms were still visible along Sarasota and Manatee beaches, but appeared to clear up further north in Pinellas.