Gulf of Mexico
Red Tide on Florida Gulf Coast (2018), Photo Flickr

Fear of red tide causing false alarms in Sarasota-Manatee, scientists say

Very low concentrations of toxic algae were found offshore of Southwest Florida, but there is no red tide bloom, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

SARASOTA, FL — Two months after wildlife officials declared Florida’s red tide outbreak over, scientists have found traces of the toxic algae in three Southwest Florida counties, but it’s a far cry from the red tide bloom that plagued the state for 18 months.

In a word, it’s normal.

There is no red tide bloom.

There were very low concentrations found in single samples collected in Manatee, Charlotte and Lee counties, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The re-emergence of even background levels of Karenia brevis on Friday’s FWC red tide status report — and reports of respiratory irritation for the first time since February — led to public fears that another outbreak could be forming.

However, the anecdotal reports of breathing problems were attributed to other sources, not red tide, FWC said.

A non-harmful red drift, a woolly seaweed known as macro algae, washed up Tuesday on Sarasota County beaches.

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