High red tide levels found along Pinellas County beaches

Red tide levels (FWC)

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Officials say a bloom of Florida red tide remained over the weekend along Tampa Bay-area beaches, killing fish and causing respiratory irritation in swimmers.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a news release that high concentrations of red tide were found recently in 18 samples taken from beaches along Pinellas County.

Low levels of red tide were also present in 23 samples taken from Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties.

Red tide is an algal bloom that can be harmful for fish, marine mammals and humans, with people sometimes experiencing coughing, sneezing or a scratchy throat when red tide is present. The toxins can also make fish and shellfish dangerous to eat.

Officials say fish kills were reported earlier last week along Madeira and Indians Shores beaches in Pinellas County, along with reports of respiratory irritation. In the past week, respiratory irritation was also reported along Treasure Island, Indian Rocks Beach, Clearwater, and Belleair Beach.

Citizens can report what they believe to be red tide on VisitBeaches.org. Reports are shared with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Florida Department of Health (DOH), Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC).

READ MORE: Red tide detected along parts of Bay area beaches

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.

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