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Red tide levels in the greater Tampa Bay area begin to show improvement

The red tide organism, Karenia brevis, was observed in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Credit: Madison Alworth

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla — A patchy bloom of red tide continues to persist along the Florida Gulf Coast, however concentrations levels are reportedly lower than in past weeks.

Daily samples from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission show red tide is still impacting the Tampa Bay area. During this week's sampling for the red tide organism, Karenia brevis, cells were detected in 38 samples from Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Manatee County, Sarasota County, Hernando County and Pasco County. 

Concentrations of red tide in Pinellas County are low to high, while Hillsborough and Manatee counties are seeing low concentrations. Sarasota, Hernando and Pasco counties are reporting background and low concentrations. 

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.

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.

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