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Water-Related News

Florida red tide lurks south of Venice, but it’s dwindling

Water samples taken in Sarasota County show normal background levels of the toxic algae, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

A patch of irritating Florida red tide that caused fish kills and some breathing trouble near Venice beaches in October appears to be dwindling, according to the latest round of water samples.

The harmful algae, known as Karenia brevis, produces a lethal toxin that is fatal to fish and attaches to sea spray, causing people to cough and have watery eyes. It has been offshore from Venice in medium to high concentrations for about two months.

On Monday, the FWC posted the results of testing from Nov. 25 that showed only trace amounts (normal year-round levels) of red tide cells near Venice and tumbling concentrations near Fort Myers, Naples and Marco Island, where red tide has a stronghold.

The Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides, a harmful algae forecasting model operated by the University of South Florida College of Marine Science and FWC, indicated red tide was continuing to move south parallel to the shore for the next 3½ days. [Article appeared Dec. 32nd]