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Red Tide continues to foul Pinellas beaches

LUIS SANTANA   |   Times Thousands of dead fish and crustaceans washed up on Madeira Beach on Sunday.
LUIS SANTANA | Times Thousands of dead fish and crustaceans washed up on Madeira Beach on Sunday.
Published Sep. 17, 2018

After Red Tide reappeared on Pinellas County beaches the day before, the sights and smells of dead fish continued to wash ashore Sunday.

Red Tide is an algae bloom that produces toxins that kill fish and can be dangerous for humans with respiratory issues. The microscopic algae Karenia brevis reproduces offshore; it can be carried to beaches by ocean currents.

It's spread north along Florida's gulf coast for months.

According to state measurements, the bloom was present as recently as Thursday along beaches from Pinellas County to Lee County.

Sunday morning, Red Tide caused "strong" odors and dead fish on Madeira Beach, Redington Shores, Indian Shores, St. Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach and Pass-A-Grille, with other beaches affected to a lesser extent.

Fort DeSoto Park, which reported heavy amounts of dead fish on its Gulf side shore on Saturday, had returned to "normal" conditions by Sunday, according to Pinellas County.

Shrimp boats continued to drag nets through the water off Madeira Beach on Sunday, trying to catch as many dead fish as possible before they washed up on shore.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Red Tide is forecast to continue cause moderate irritation on northern Pinellas beaches and high irritation for southern Pinellas beaches on Monday.

Contact Langston Taylor at ltaylor@tampabay.com. Follow @langstonitaylor.