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Timing of red tide coincides with spring break vacations

Reports of fish kill related to red tide have been received from Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — What's that smell?

Reports of red tide along Tampa Bay area beaches, even south toward Sarasota area beaches, continue as spring break vacationers visit the region.

According to a report from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, traces of the red ride organism, Karenia brevis, was picked up in 123 samples from and offshore of Southwest Florida. Bloom concentrations were present in 26 samples found offshore of Pinellas County, eight in Manatee county, and 27 in Sarasota County.

Very low to high concentrations were reported in Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties. See the red tide map here.

Reports of fish kills suspected to be related to red tide were also received in Pasco, Pinellas, Manatees and Sarasota counties. Respiratory irritation possibly related to red tide was also reported in the same counties, FWC reports. 

Visitors at Sarasota-area beaches told 10 Tampa Bay they could feel the respiratory-related irritations.

"The air quality is bad. The stench is bad. The whole thing is bad," Julie Joe, a tourist whose daughter was hospitalized recently with respiratory symptoms caused by red tide, said.

In Manatee County, teams have been actively monitoring and responding to the red tide along the coast since November. County officials said they have removed a ton of dead fish from area beaches. 

They also said in the last month alone, as the impact increased, crews have collected about 7,000 pounds of fish from the beaches and waterways.

The situation is impacting many of the boating and kayaking activities and services.

"These natural occurrences happening during spring break is the worst time ever especially when we are having some of the best weather," Kerry Daniel of Suncoast Adventure Tours and Charter boats said.

10 Tampa Bay's Adaure Achumba contributed to this article.

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