Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota issued a red tide report Jan. 18 and said it found only “slight respiratory irritation” among beachgoers tested at Coquina Beach.
The report notes only mild irritation from red tide for people on Jan. 19, and no dead fish at Coquina.
However, Coquina Beach may be the farthest north of Mote’s test sites. Beachgoers reported irritation and dead fish on the Gulf of Mexico shore in Holmes Beach and Anna Maria, and on Tampa Bay at the Anna Maria City Pier. Mote’s report indicated increasing numbers of beachgoers at several southwest Florida beaches have recently experienced respiratory irritation caused by red tide’s airborne toxins.
The Jan. 18 testing resulted in “a marked increase in red tide algae (Karenia brevis) over tests results from last week.”
The beaches with the largest increase in red tide levels were in Sarasota or Lee counties.