Florida anglers have become painfully aware of the damage red tide can do to the fishery. The dangerous red tide organism has been spotted on both sides of the Florida peninsula recently.
A report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission reported a large offshore bloom of Karenia brevis this month in the northeast Gulf of Mexico. Satellite images from the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at the University of South Florida showed a patchy bloom at least 20 miles offshore between Dixie and northern Pinellas counties in northwest and southwest Florida. FWC’s Fish Kill Hotline has received numerous reports of a widespread fish kill.
Karenia brevis was detected in background concentrations in one water sample analyzed from offshore of Walton County and background to medium concentrations in the bloom area offshore of Dixie, Levy, Citrus, and Hernando Counties. In addition, K. brevis was detected in background to very low concentrations in eight samples collected in, and alongshore of, Pinellas and Sarasota counties in southwest Florida. No bloom concentrations of red tide have been detected alongshore or inshore of any of the areas sampled.
Forecasts by the Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides show water movement proceeding south and slightly away from the coast for the next several days.
Additional samples collected throughout Florida this week did not contain the Florida red tide, Karenia brevis.
FWC has received multiple reports of fish kills and reports of discolored water over the past couple of weeks in the Indian River Lagoon system on the east coast of Florida. Sampling has revealed bloom concentrations of multiple algae species, including Takayama tuberculata and Pyrodinium bahamense. In addition, a bloom of Pyrodinium bahamense has been ongoing in Tampa Bay since May and discolored water has been reported.
Tables and maps of sample results are available on this Web site: http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/events/status/statewide/
The website also provides links to additional information related to the topic of Florida red tide including satellite imagery, experimental red tide forecasts, shellfish harvesting areas, the FWC Fish Kill Hotline and the Florida Poison Information Center where you can report human health effects related to exposure to red tide.
To learn more about various organisms that have been known to cause algal blooms in Florida waters, see the FWC flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwc and click on “Harmful Algal Bloom Species”.
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Angler Alert: Don’t forget to log you catch online at the Angler Action Program.