High levels of red tide across all Sarasota County beaches and waterways

ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 8:54 PM EST
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NOKOMIS BEACH, Fla. (WWSB) - From the beaches to the canals and many waterways up and down the Suncoast, dead fish can be seen. High levels of red tide is to blame.

“It’s devastating. Hopefully it won’t last long, it comes and goes,” said Dana Tyler, a Bradenton resident visiting Nokomis Beach.

All Sarasota County beaches currently have high levels of red tide. Many Manatee County beaches also also seeing elevated levels of the algae. Environmentalists say it could get worse before it gets better.

“We don’t know when the end of this bloom will occur. We do know that there was a huge pull of nutrients that the bloom needs to intensify,” said Abbey Tyrna, executive director of Suncoast Waterkeeper. “That was pushed out to our Gulf waters from Hurricane Ian, so we don’t know when it’s going to end.”

On a ride along on the Intracoastal Waterway with Sarasota County boater Art Conforti, he says red tide is something he has seen sporadically recently, saying it all depends which way the wind blows.

“It seems like I’ve seen patches, I don’t see it all the time,” said Conforti. “For example, we had dead fish here last night and today it’s all clear, it’s not consistent, it’s very inconsistent.”

In addition to all the dead fish, the strong stench is apparent and the water is looking very murky and discolored.

But it’s not stopping people from enjoying the beach.

“It is what it is, it is nature, I wish it weren’t happening,” said Dave and Julia Salerno. “It’s been ongoing for 50 years or more, it’s just a part of life down here.”

Red tide signs are posted at all the beaches. People may experience respiratory issues, coughing and eye irritation. Health officials are urging people to stay out of the water.

For the latest on the red tide conditions, you can click on this link https://myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/.