Gulf of Mexico
Red tide at Anna Maria Island in 2018

Red tide returns to Sarasota area

The toxic, smelly algae bloom that hurt hotel sales and waterfront destinations last year is back in Florida's waters.

Last week, red tide organism K. brevis was observed at very low concentrations in Manatee County and background concentrations in Sarasota County. Very low concentrations can indicate that people may experience possible respiratory irritation.

Background concentrations were also detected in Charlotte and Lee counties, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's May 17 report.

Red tide was found in water samples at the Coquina Beach South boat ramp in very low concentrations. Blue-green algae was also detected in water samples in Anna Maria Island canals, Holmes Beach bayside and Palma Sola Bay on May 9, according to the Anna Maria Island Sun.

The bloom began impacting Florida in October 2017 and killed thousands of sea life and affected businesses, which reported losses in the millions. It finally started to subside in early 2019, allowing some relief and a breath of fresh air for area during the past several months.

The local government has taken a stand on protecting the area's tourism sector. A Senate panel moved forward earlier this month with a proposal that would direct $3 million a year to a red tide research initiative between the state and Mote Marine Laboratory.

See Tampa Bay Business Journal article . . .