Gulf of Mexico
Red Tide predictions and duration explored (Image via Twitter/FLWillRegret22 and eclipsethis2003)

FL - How long does Red Tide last in Florida? Duration explored as dead fish pile up on coast

Florida’s southwest coast was hit by an increase of toxic Red Tide algae this week, ruining the beach experience for many tourists. The current bloom started in October.

The toxic algae boom, nicknamed Red Tide, occurs naturally in the Gulf of Mexico and seems to worsen in the presence of nutrients like nitrogen. It has left behind a trail of dead fish scattered along beaches. Moreover, residents have been complaining of burning eyes and respiratory issues due to the Red Tide.

The Red Tide is named after the brownish-red hue it gives to the water. The problem-causing algae is called Karenia brevis.

In early March, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission detected K. brevis in high concentrations along the state's coastline during several sampling procedures.

The toxic algae bloom usually begins in the fall and is often gone by spring, however, the end of the current bloom and algae-infested water is not in sight.

"This thing may linger": Red Tide 2023 predictions in Florida

K. brevis and other types of algae are usually spread across all bodies of water. They exist in small numbers that go unnoticed. Under the right conditions, though, they tend to rapidly multiply. Scientists call this out-of-control overgrowth an algal bloom.

When asked about the duration of the Red Tide, Bob Weisberg, the former director of the University of South Florida's Ocean Circulation Lab, told the Tampa Bay Times:

“I cannot say when it’s going to go away. It could very well be that this thing may linger.”

The newspaper claimed that almost every coastal country in the southwest has reported toxic blooms in the past week. Gulf beaches have seen countless fish corpses, with residents of the area complaining of respiratory issues such as coughing and sneezing.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Sarasota and Pinellas counties have been hit the hardest with algae.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission advises people against swimming through or near brownish waters since it can cause skin irritation, rashes, burning, and sore eyes. Those with asthma and respiratory problems shouldn't visit the beach at all.

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