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Red tide returns to southern Sarasota beaches

Low to medium levels of red tide were detected at seven beaches in South County.


  • Longboat Key
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After an up-and-down cycle of red tide reports last week, health department officials this week have issued a new alert again for beaches in the southern half of Sarasota County.

Samples taken Tuesday at seven sites contained red tide cells, though in concentrations from very low to medium.

The beaches affected are: Venice Beach (53 cells per milliliter), Service Club Park (3), Venice Fishing Pier (16), Brohard Beach (45), and Caspersen Beach (86), Manasota Key (280), and Blind Pass (216). Levels between 1-10 are considered very low; 10-100 low; 100-1,000 medium.

Trace levels of Karenia brevisthe cells that cause red tide, were detected at Siesta Beach and South Lido Park, but not to the level requiring an advisory.

Levels were listed as 0 for areas from Lido Beach north through Longboat Key.

Signs will be posted at affected beaches. The Health Department on Oct. 26 rescinded a red tide advisory for the same region after follow-up testing revealed concentrations of karenia brevis had returned to background levels. 

The Florida Department of Health makes the following recommendations at the posted beaches;

  • Do not swim around dead fish.
  • If you have chronic respiratory problems, consider staying away from the beach as red tide can affect your breathing.
  • Do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish. If fish are healthy, rinse fillets with tap or bottled water and throw out the guts.
  • Keep pets and livestock away from water, sea foam, and dead sea life.
  • Residents living in beach areas who experience respiratory symptoms are advised to close windows and run the air conditioner (ensuring that the A/C filter is maintained according to the manufacturer's specifications).

If outdoors, residents may choose to wear paper filter masks, especially if onshore winds are blowing.