Is There Still Red Tide in Sarasota Bay and the Gulf?

Harmful algal blooms have diminished near Siesta, Lido and Longboat Keys, but are still present in Venice and south Sarasota.

By Allison Forsyth August 23, 2021

Karenia brevis, the microorganism that causes red tide, is still present in the Gulf, but Sarasota beaches are experiencing a bit of reprieve from the toxic algal bloom that kills fish and causes upper respiratory symptoms in humans.

According to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission's tracker, red tide has been present in medium to high levels in Venice, Nokomis and Charlotte County over the last eight days. Red tide is measured in cells per liter, and these areas experienced anywhere from 100,000 to more than 1 million cells of Karenia brevis per liter of water. (Background to low levels of red tide would be considered less than 10,000 cells per liter.)

Siesta Key and Lido Key and Sarasota Bay are improving, with little to no blooms in the last eight days. (There is one high outbreak, however, at Sarasota's Bayfront Park addition.) Manatee County beaches, Anna Maria Island and Tampa Bay are experiencing little to no blooms, either. As of Sunday, the amount of dead fish found on the beach due to red tide has also diminished, according to Sarasota County's daily beach status report.

Respiratory symptoms and eye irritation as a result of moderate to high levels of red tide are expected. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium's beach conditions map can tell beach goers the daily condition as it relates to health.

For more information on the status of red tide in the Gulf, click here or call Mote's Red Tide Status Line at (866) 300-9399.

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