Red tide advisory issued for all 16 beaches in the county

Signage posted to alert the public to potential of respiratory irritation and fish kills

These are red tide graphics released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the University of South Florida for the period of July 6-13. Image courtesy FWC and USF via the Sarasota County Government Facebook page

As of July 13, all 16 beaches in Sarasota County had red tide notification signs posted, county staff reported.

“Current conditions include fish kills and respiratory irritation,” a county alert said.

Signage was posted on July 13 at the following beaches:

  • Longboat Key.
  • Bird Key Park/Ringling Causeway.
  • North Lido.
  • Lido Casino.
  • South Lido.
  • Siesta Key.
  • Turtle Beach.

The signage already in place at South County beaches (Nokomis, North Jetty, Venice Beach, Service Club, Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Park, Caspersen, Manasota Key and Blind Pass Beach Park) remains in effect, the release added.

This is the top of the red tide signs posted on the county’s beaches. Image courtesy Sarasota County

The county’s red tide webpages explain that red tide “produces brevetoxins — powerful and potent neurotoxins — that can kill marine animals and be harmful to humans. … Brevetoxins … may also irritate pre-existing respiratory conditions including asthma. Persons with asthma are advised to bring their inhaler to the beach during a red tide or avoid the area until conditions improve. Some swimmers experience skin irritation and rashes after swimming in waters with a severe red tide. They have also reported eye irritation from the sea foam.”

For regular updates on red tide on county beaches, a person may check this link on the Sarasota County website.

No red tide cleanup operations were scheduled for July 13, but staff pointed out that it would continue to monitor and evaluate each beach daily for any effects.

To register for the Sarasota County’s Red Tide Newsletter, the county alert noted, a person may click on the red button on the top right of the county’s red tide webpage.

To check the county Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources (PRNR) daily reporting of conditions, visit the Red Tide Dashboard.

In its mid-week red tide report, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) noted, “[V]ery low to high concentrations” of the red tide algae, Karenia brevis, had been found over the past week in 20 samples taken in Sarasota County. That report also pointed to fish kills in the county that were suspected to be related to red tide.

The previous FWC report, issued on July 9, noted that “low to medium concentrations” of Karenia brevis had been found over the preceding week in Sarasota County.

This is the red tide forecast for July 14-17 from FWC and USF. Image courtesy of FWC and USF

Bloom concentrations, which are those above 100,000 cells of the algae per liter, were found in 15 Sarasota County samples over the past week, FWC said in its July 14 report.

Further, county staff has advised that if any member of the public finds manatees, dolphins, whales or marine turtles affected by red tide, the person should call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) hotline at 1-888-404-3922. “Be prepared to describe the location of the animal and take a picture, if possible,” the advisory said. “An FWC biologist will return the call to get additional details as well as the picture, if available.”

For all other types of fish, the advisory noted, persons should call 800-636-0511. “To report sick or injured shorebirds, call 941-388-3010,” it said.

Additionally, Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources (PRNR) staff is monitoring the shoreline each day in regard to the county’s beach cleanup policy, the county’s July 13 alert pointed out.

Staff also offers individuals the opportunity to review the county’s beach cleanup policy

This is the county’s beach cleaning policy. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Large quantities of seaweed have accumulated on Siesta Key,” the report noted, so county staff conducted seaweed cleanup only on the public beach and accesses on July 13. “These cleanup operations are not related to red tide,” the alert added.

Mote Marine Laboratory’s Beach Conditions Reporting System noted red macroalgae on the Siesta Public Beach on July 13.

A county crew works to remove seaweed from Siesta Public Beach on July 13. Image courtesy Sarasota County via Facebook
This is Siesta Public Beach after the seaweed removal. Image courtesy Sarasota County via Facebook

A July 14 post on the county government Facebook page reported that workers removed an estimated 19 tons of seaweed and marine debris from Siesta Public Beach the previous day.

For the latest details about respiratory conditions at specific beaches on the county shoreline, a person may visit https://visitbeaches.org/.

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