Florida red tide levels are the lowest in more than a year
After more than a year, lab tests showed red tide concentrations across Florida were rated at “not present” to “background” concentrations.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tested more than 100 water samples offshore and in bay areas from Northwest, Southwest and the east coast of Florida, where red tide peaked in August and September. Those tests showed levels of the red tide organism, Karenia brevis, were under 1,000 cells per liter for the first time since the outbreak began in late October 2017.
Red tide levels began to dip around Christmastime, but there was a resurgence at the beginning of January off the coast of Sarasota and Charlotte counties. Manatee has background concentrations (between 0 and 1,000 cells per liter) and Sarasota did not appear on the report Monday.
Charlotte County observed medium concentrations near Placida Harbor during tests performed from Jan. 17 to 24, but samples taken in the region on Monday showed levels dipped to trace amounts.
It is unknown whether more toxic algae lurks offshore, but conditions have shown notable improvement.