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Seafood is safe to eat despite red tide

Local fishermen said even with red tide detected in Pinellas County, the seafood is fine to consume.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — State regulators have detected red tide at certain beaches in Pinellas County, according to FWC's latest report.

With red tide killing fish along our coast, some locals have questioned whether area seafood was safe to eat.

Local fishermen said seafood is safe to eat for several reasons.

"The only seafood that would be impacted by red tide at all would be certain types of shellfish. For example, oysters and clams. Those are the types of seafood are more impacted by it because they can get certain concentrations of certain bacteria," Captain Dylan Hubbard, owner of Hubbard's Marina explained.

When commercial fishermen catch shellfish, there are a lot of regulations to ensure the fish are safe to eat and sell. Hubbard explained an officer with FWC is usually at the dock when a commercial fisherman returns. The officer will inspect the fish to make sure it is safe to eat.

Hubbard explained another big reason why people shouldn't be concerned about eating fish in Pinellas County is that shellfish aren't caught in this area.

Shellfish fisheries are located north of the Tampa Bay area.

"Most shellfish you get at any restaurant are not going to be from the coast of Florida," Hubbard added.

This is because there aren't many shellfish to catch in this area, and the water is warmer in Tampa Bay.

"One, there’s not a lot of them and two, the water is warm and there’s typically more pollution," Hubbard explained.

As for other fish like grouper or snapper, those fish are caught offshore where red tide typically isn't detected.

"Most of those fish you would get at a restaurant like mahi-mahi and snapper, they are all in offshore areas where red tide would typically not be present," Hubbard explained.

Fish sold in a grocery store isn't typically local. "You really have to go to specialty seafood market like Don’s Dock to get fresh locally caught fish," Hubbard said.

Those fishermen follow regulations to make sure the fish they are serving is safe for you to eat. Regulations are in place by the state to make sure that all fish caught and sold are safe to consume.

Editor's note: The captain's name has been corrected in this story. It is "Dylan," not "David."

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