Red tide causes concern in Manatee County

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MANATEE COUNTY - High levels of red tide continue to be reported up and down Suncoast beaches, and now with the bloom appearing to head north, some in Manatee County are concerned it may have an impact on tourism there.

Dead fish after dead fish line the shores of Holmes Beach. "Its disgusting, its not good to see all the dead fish on the beach," said Christina Forese.

Forese is here vacationing and today she was suppose to have a nice relaxing day in the water, but that quickly changed when she saw dead fish wash ashore.   "I'm scared to go into the water because I think that if the fish are dead there is a reason, so I'm scared to go in to the water like this because I'm scared something would happen to me, I don't like it, " said Forese.

And she isn't alone, Jesse Cote also came out to Holmes Beach in hopes of getting in the water but was turned off by the dead fish.  "It just makes me uncomfortable that they are sitting there and Im not sure really why they are sitting there."

According to reports from Florida Fish and Wildlife, the dead fish are associated with red tide, a harmful algae bloom that paralyzes the central nervous system of a fish so it cannot breathe.  It is also known to cause coughing and other slight respiratory irritation for some people.  But, not everyone is feeling the effects of red tide.

"We've been really fortunate this year there has been red tide around for some time and we really hadn't had the aerosol effects that are often associated with it," said Ed Chiles the owner of Sandbar Resturant in Anna Maria.

Chiles also wants to get the message out that the algae causing the fish to wash up on the beach is not affecting the fish you'll find at restaurants.  "That's very tightly regulated, so they don't have to worry, they can know that the fish that is on the plate whether they are selling it at the grocery store, a fish market, or restaurant is safe to eat."

At this point, reports of respiratory irritation from the red tide have been low to moderate.  But, people with conditions like asthma, are still advised to stay away from beaches reporting red tide.