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Red tide: 3.6 million pounds of marine debris removed from Pinellas County

Water samples show conditions improving across the Tampa Bay area.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Red tide conditions continue to improve across the Tampa Bay region as one county says cleanup efforts have slowed down significantly over the past week.

As of Tuesday, workers across Pinellas County have removed 1,823 tons of dead sea life. That's more than 3.6 million pounds.  

The county says there has been a big "drop-off" the past two days because "offshore winds have pushed the bloom farther from shore, and water quality monitoring results have improved."  

RELATED: 'Patchy bloom' of red tide persists in the Tampa Bay area

Daily samples from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission show red tide still impacting parts of the bay area, but not to the degree of last month. Pinellas County is seeing low to medium levels of red tide off its coast.

To report a fish kill to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), call the hotline at 800-636-0511. For more resources, click here.

Red tide is one of the water's deadliest enemies, and it occurs nearly every summer along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Some years, however, it's worse than others.

RELATED: Hands off: Sea-foam at the beach could contain harmful toxins due to red tide

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "red tide" is a harmful algal bloom or HAB, that is created when plants in the sea grow out of control and cause harmful toxins. Those toxins can have negative impacts on people, marine mammals, birds, fish and shellfish. 

In Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, the species responsible for most red tides is called Karenia brevis, and is often abbreviated as K. brevis.

NOAA scientists say that although it's rare, red tide can cause human illness and even be deadly. Experts at Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say the toxic chemicals that come from red tide affect both marine organisms and humans.

Karenia brevis produces brevetoxins that can affect the central nervous system of fish and other vertebrates, which causes these animals to die.

RELATED: UF researchers study if flies carry red tide toxins