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Low levels of Red Tide algae bloom detected off Pinellas by state biologists

ST. PETERSBURG — Low levels of the toxic Red Tide algae have been detected off Pinellas County's beaches, but the algae bloom is much worse to the south, off Charlotte and Lee counties, biologists from the state Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg reported Friday.

The Red Tide bloom currently affects about 140 miles of coastline from Pinellas through Collier County, and biologists said respiratory irritation and multiple fish kills continue to be reported in various areas where it's present.

The algae that produce toxins during a Red Tide bloom are always present offshore in small numbers, but for unknown reasons their numbers can suddenly explode and their poisons become more potent.

In 1971, a Red Tide bloom that ran from the Sunshine Skyway bridge up into Old Tampa Bay left thousands of dead fish in canals and bayous in St. Petersburg, and fishermen reported shark feeding frenzies in the upper bay.

Low levels of Red Tide algae bloom detected off Pinellas by state biologists 02/01/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 1, 2013 11:25pm]
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