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Red Tide still hanging around Pinellas coast after ‘brief improvements’

The county says fish kills have let up early this week. More than 1,680 tons of dead sea life and debris have been collected.
A fish kill from Red Tide dries on the shore of Pass-a-Grille on Saturday.
A fish kill from Red Tide dries on the shore of Pass-a-Grille on Saturday. [ ARIELLE BADER | Times ]
Published Jul. 28
Updated Jul. 29

Pinellas County officials say the coast has not seen severe fish kills in recent days, but a Red Tide endures off the gulf beaches.

A bloom sits roughly between Pass-a-Grille and Honeymoon Island, according to a county update issued late Tuesday. Crews saw “brief improvements” over the weekend, said Pinellas spokesman Tony Fabrizio in an email to the Tampa Bay Times, though medium and high levels of the algae have continued to be found in multiple locations.

Related: Tampa Bay has Red Tide questions. Here are some answers.

County water samples taken Tuesday detected high levels off Redington Shores and Treasure Island.

Conditions “are still better than during the peak of the bloom,” Fabrizio wrote. The toxic Red Tide has killed fish for more than a month around Tampa Bay. Pinellas reports collecting 1,687 tons of dead sea life and debris. The last time the area saw a significant Red Tide was in 2018, when Pinellas said it collected an estimated 1,862 tons.

Officials did not deploy a contractor either Monday or Tuesday to help with the cleanup, according to Fabrizio, instead turning reports of fish kills over for municipalities to handle.

“If the situation worsens, the county will activate the cleanup contractor again,” Fabrizio said.

Anyone considering going to the beach is advised to check beachesupdate.com for the latest conditions.

Related: With Tampa Bay in grip of Red Tide, shrimpers turn their nets toward death

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Red Tide coverage

Tampa Bay has Red Tide questions. Here are some answers.

Is it safe to eat seafood? Here’s how Red Tide affects what you eat.

Can I go fishing? The state is limiting saltwater fishing.

Piney Point: The environmental disaster may be fueling Red Tide.

Red Tide resources

• The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a website that tracks where Red Tide is detected.

• Florida Poison Control Centers have a toll-free 24/7 hotline to report illnesses, including from exposure to Red Tide: 1-800-222-1222

• To report dead fish for clean-up in Tampa Bay, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-800-636-0511 or file a fish kill report online.

• In St. Petersburg, call the Mayor’s Action Center at 727-893-7111 or use St. Petersburg’s seeclickfix website.

• Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, the county’s tourism wing, runs an online beach dashboard at www.beachesupdate.com.

How to stay safe near the water

• Do not swim around dead fish.

• Those with chronic respiratory problems should be careful and stay away from places with a Red Tide bloom. Leave if you think Red Tide is affecting you.

• Do not harvest or eat mollusks or distressed and dead fish from the area. Fillets of healthy fish should be rised 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.

• Beachgoers can protect themselves by wearing masks.

Source: Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County