If you're headed for a fishing, boating or beaching vacation on Florida's west coast any time soon, you might want to check the following report from Florida's Fish & Wildlife Research Institute; most areas have low or zero levels of the fish-killing algae, but in some areas it's once again causing problems after a long hiatus. The FWRI offers the following report, including a link to their very cool interactive Google Earth map with localized information:
On the southwest coast of Florida, a bloom of the Florida Red Tide organism, Karenia brevis, continues alongshore from Manatee County through northern Collier County, with patches in southern Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
Low to high concentrations were found alongshore of mid Sarasota County through northern Collier County and offshore of Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties, with the highest concentrations found at Blind Pass Beach (Sarasota County) on Monday. Samples collected in the northern Pine Island Sound system (Lee County) showed low to high concentrations of K. brevis, with the highest concentrations detected at Little Gasparilla Island. Samples collected inshore of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee counties contained concentrations ranging from very low to medium. Samples collected offshore of the Florida Keys (Monroe County) did not contain K. brevis.
Multiple fish kills have been documented onshore and offshore of the affected areas; respiratory irritation has also been reported.
Bloom Boundary: The bloom extends from alongshore of Manatee County through northern Collier County and extends offshore of Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties in patches -- affecting approximately 115 miles of shoreline in southwest Florida.
Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, was not detected in samples collected this week alongshore of Bay County, in St. Joseph Bay (Gulf County) or alongshore of Dixie and Levy counties.
Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, was not present in samples collected this week in the Indian River Lagoon system (Brevard County) or alongshore of Dade County.
You can access this week's interactive Google Map in the attached file.
To learn more about other organisms that have been known to cause algal blooms in Florida waters, see our flickr page at (http://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwc
) and click on "Harmful Algal Bloom Species".
In order to view this map, you must have Google Earth installed on your computer. The Google Earth software can be downloaded from the Google Earth Web site through the following link: (http://earth.google.com
This information is also available on our Web site: (http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/events/status/statewide/
The Web site also provides links to additional information related to the topic of Florida red tide including satellite imagery, experimental red tide forecasts, shellfish harvesting areas, the FWC Fish Kill Hotline, the Florida Poison Information Center (to report human health effects related to exposure to red tide), and other wildlife related hotlines: (http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/events/status/contact/