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First it was Sarasota County. Now... Red Tide is in Manatee County

First it was Sarasota County. Now... Red Tide is in Manatee County

In this past Friday (4/23/21) afternoon’s report. Low amounts of the organism that creates harmful red tide have been detected in Manatee County, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

A handful of samples collected this week southwest of the Manatee River show low to very low amounts of Karenia brevis, algae strain that causes red tide. 

FWC’s four samples of red tide were collected between the northern tip of Anna Maria Island and the mouth of the Manatee River. State of Florida officials said the red tide was observed at low to very low levels, which could produce respiratory irritation and fish kills.

Red tide had previously been detected in Sarasota, leading the Florida Department of Health-Sarasota to place warning signs at local beaches.

Now, it is appearing in Manatee County.

The threat of an all-out bloom has many concerned by recent events at Piney Point, the former phosphate processing plant that was forced to dump 215 million gallons of contaminated, nutrient-rich water into Tampa Bay to avoid a more immediate disaster.

Samples taken near the discharge area did not contain red tide, FWC said. In a news release, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said the red tide does not appear to be linked to the Piney Point leak, but instead, is a separate bloom.

In terms of the PIney Point discharge a few weeks ago… In order to mitigate the effect of the contaminated water, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection instructed Piney Point’s site operators to pour the water into a deep channel near Port Manatee, which helped dilute the nutrients. Water quality sampling in and around that area, is a high priority for several groups including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Read the Full report from released this past Friday (4/323/21) from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, below:

Current Conditions - Friday (4/323/21)

The red tide organism, Karenia brevis, persists in Southwest Florida. Over the past week, K. brevis was detected in 52 samples. Bloom concentrations (>100,000 cells/liter) were observed in three samples each from Sarasota and Charlotte counties. Additional details are provided below.

  • In Southwest Florida over the past week, K. brevis was observed at very low to low concentrations in Manatee County, background to medium concentrations in Sarasota County, very low to medium concentrations in Charlotte County, very low and low concentrations in Lee County, and background to low concentrations in Collier County.
  • In Northwest Florida over the past week, K. brevis was not observed.
  • Along the Florida East Coast over the past week, K. brevis was not observed.

Multiple fish kills suspected to be related to red tide were reported over the past week in Sarasota and Charlotte counties. For more details, please visit:

Respiratory irritation was reported over the past week in Southwest Florida in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Additional details are provided in the Southwest Coast report and for current information, please visit:

Forecasts by the USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides for Pinellas to northern Monroe counties predict net northwestern movement of surface waters and minimal net movement of subsurface waters in most areas over the next four days.

FWC-FWRI is working closely with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and other partners on the Piney Point discharge response. Status updates and results are posted on the Protecting Florida Together website and on the Tampa Bay Estuary Program website (

The next complete status report will be issued on Friday, April 30th. Please check our daily sampling map, which can be accessed via the online status report on our Red Tide Current Status page. For more information on algal blooms and water quality, please visit Protecting Florida Together.

This information, including maps and reports with additional details, is also available on the FWRI Red Tide website. The website also provides links to additional information related to the topic of Florida red tide including satellite imagery, experimental red tide forecasts, shellfish harvesting areas, the FWC Fish Kill Hotline, the Florida Poison Information Center (to report human health effects related to exposure to red tide), and other wildlife related hotlines.

To learn more about various organisms that have been known to cause algal blooms in Florida waters, see the FWRI Red Tide Flickr page. Archived status maps can also be found on Flickr.    

The FWRI HAB group in conjunction with Mote Marine Laboratory now have a facebook page. Please like our page and learn interesting facts concerning red tide and other harmful algal blooms in Florida.

Red Tide Algae Blooms Continue On Florida's Gulf Coast

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