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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Red tide detected near Manasota Beach, Florida - 27th Sept 2011

For the first time in more than four years, Sarasota County may be facing an outbreak of red tide, the noxious algae that kills fish and causes respiratory irritation in people.

Water quality samples taken recently by Sarasota County in partnership with Mote Marine Laboratory showed elevated concentrations of the algae near Manasota Beach and near Venice and Englewood beaches, according to data released late Tuesday.

Whether the elevated concentrations are an isolated blip or signs of a larger red tide bloom was unclear Tuesday evening. More sampling will continue this week, according to a routine red tide report issued by state wildlife officials.

Red tide algae contain neurotoxins that get released into the water and air when the algae die. The poisons kill fish, sea turtles and marine mammals.

Severe red tides can make people on the beach cough and wheeze when winds blow onshore.

Zoe Bass, who monitors sea turtle nests on Manasota Key, said she has noticed many small, dead fish lately on the northern part of the key. She said she had suspected red tide because they seemed to be washing ashore alive, as though escaping a bloom.

Bass also said other turtle volunteers reported several dead birds recently. Read More