The primary Red Tide bloom off the coast of Pinellas County is continuing to move north, according to a Tuesday night update from county officials.
A news release said there were “multiple blooms throughout“ Tampa Bay as observed during a flyover. This included visible water discoloration about 50 to 100 feet off the shoreline from the Redington Beach to Belleair, as well as off Clearwater Beach and as far north as Anclote Key.
County officials said water testing revealed medium concentrations of karenia brevis, the organism within Red Tide, at Clearwater Beach, Honeymoon Island and Fred Howard Park.
South of Clearwater had low or very low concentrations of karenia bevis, the release said. Fort De Soto Park Gulf Pier had medium concentrations, which officials said is likely due to higher levels coming from lower Tampa Bay.
Crews contracted by the county continue to work on the southern shoreline of the Dunedin Causeway and Fred Howard Park, the release said.
Bloom levels were initially detected near Port Manatee earlier this month, where 215 million gallons of polluted wastewater were pumped into Tampa Bay from the Piney Point fertilizer plant site.
Fish kills have been reported in Madeira Beach, Indian Rocks Beach and Sand Key, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
• • •
Red Tide resources
There are several online resources that can help residents stay informed and share information about Red Tide:
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, the county’s tourism wing, runs an online beach dashboard at www.beachesupdate.com.
The agency asks business owners to email reports of Red Tide issues to email@example.com.
Pinellas County shares information with the Red Tide Respiratory Forecast tool that allows beachgoers to check for warnings.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a website that tracks where Red Tide is detected and how strong the concentrations.
• • •
How to stay safe near the water
- Beachgoers should avoid swimming around dead fish.
- Those with chronic respiratory problems should be particularly careful and “consider staying away” from places with a Red Tide bloom.
- People should not harvest or eat mollusks or distressed and dead fish from the area. Fillets of healthy fish should be rinsed with clean water, and the guts thrown out.
- Pet owners should keep their animals away from the water and from dead fish.
- Residents living near the beach should close their windows and run air conditioners with proper filters.
- Visitors to the beach can wear paper masks, especially if the wind is blowing in.
Source: Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County