Red tide recedes, again

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A dead ray on the shore at the Palma Sola Causeway Nov. 15 presents possible evidence of red tide. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell

BayCare physical therapist Terri Ador made home visits Nov. 14-15 on Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island.

Later, when she arrived to a client’s home in west Bradenton, she was still coughing.

“It’s the red tide over at the beach. It’s still there. It’s like I can almost smell it,” she told The Islander.

But, soon after, red tide levels receded again — down to medium concentrations of Karenia brevis, the harmful algae responsible for the bloom. That bloom moved into the Anna Maria Island area Aug. 3 but has plagued the southwest Florida coastline for more than a year.

Officials and scientists continue to seek resolutions for the crisis.

On Nov. 13, the Sarasota-based Mote Marine Laboratory announced new Red Tide Institute will be headed by Cynthia Hall to focus on studying and testing mitigation and control technologies for red tide. She will begin work Jan. 1, 2019.

Currently, Mote has five research programs on red tide and Hall’s expertise has been focused on mitigating a major impact of red tide, airborne toxins that cause respiratory irritation in humans.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission measurements found medium counts of red tide Nov. 13 when it sampled water from Bean Point in Anna Maria, Cortez Beach in Bradenton Beach and Palma Sola Bay in west Bradenton.

The midweek FWC report Nov. 14 showed lessening concentrations — down 25 percent in some locations — in Manatee County. However, a few spots with more than 1 million parts of red tide per liter of water remained.

Fish kills were reported in Manatee County, though only scattered dead fish were observed on the shoreline. In Palma Sola Bay, a dead ray with a 2-foot wingspan was found beached Nov. 15 on the north side of the causeway. Red tide was the likely cause of death, as no injuries were visible.

Capt. Scott Moore continues to fish the waters surrounding Anna Maria Island, as he has done since he was a child.

“We are moving out farther to fish. The inshore reefs are dead. The offshore reefs are OK. The Manatee River is good and up into Tampa Bay — it’s loaded with fish,” Moore said.

“They didn’t have the heavy concentrations of red tide we had here along the coast. Down south of Longboat Pass it’s really bad. It’s a hard thing to predict. It might be one place and a half mile away, nothing,” Moore said.

Moore said it would take time for marine life in the coastal waters to return to normal.

“They talk about old Florida all the time. Red tide is old Florida. It’s been here all along, just not this bad, not this long.” Moore said.

“We’re not helping.”

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2 thoughts on “Red tide recedes, again

  1. Joe Varner

    Things are much much better and have been for a while now.- why don’t you report that?? Instead you find the one dead animal around and feature that picture for your story. How do you know red tide caused its death?? Try taking a lead from the latest Bay News Nine article on it in Pinellas county. Much much more accurate and positive.

    1. bonnerj

      We report the facts as provided by the FWC … not the chamber of commerce news. Some weeks red tide is worse, some it’s better. But the truth, “real news,” is not always the “good” news. We offer more in-depth coverage than the news channels can provide in a short snippet. And … anyone with first-hand knowledge knows that red tide is patchy at best, present one day at one area of the beach and gone the next. All anyone really needs to do to avoid is move their beach chair. — Bonner

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