PINELLAS COUNTY (WFLA) —Red tide continues to impact beaches across the Tampa Bay area, from Sarasota County to Pinellas County.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission map shows medium concentrations of red tide organisms as far north as Redington Beach, with the highest concentrations in southern Sarasota County
Many beachgoers at Pass-a-Grille Beach in southern Pinellas County Wednesday found themselves coughing along with those around them.
“As soon as we got out of the car here, we started coughing,” said Dave McLarty who is visiting from Iowa.
The beach location is a popular spot for shell-hunters, such as Holly Gasiewicz who is visiting from New York. She’s been enjoying Florida’s west coast for the last three weeks, but only started noticing respiratory irritation in the St. Petersburg area Wednesday.
“It is just starting up this way because we were here the other day and it didn’t bother me at all. It is very irritating, makes you cough like crazy,” said Gasiewicz. “I probably would have stayed longer, but I am ready to go already,” she continued.
Gasiewicz told 8 On Your Side she feels for the local businesses owners in the area who depend on beach crowds.
“Everybody would be doing more, staying longer and enjoying, but you can’t when you are choking,” she said.
Fortunately, beachgoers in southern Pinellas County didn’t spot any dead fish this week. However, it’s a different story for those visiting beaches further south.
In a post on social media Wednesday, FWC officials said “Forecasts by the USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides for Pinellas County to northern Monroe County predict northern movement of surface waters and northwestern/western transport of subsurface waters in most areas over the next 3.5 days”.
To check the beach conditions in your area, go to visitbeaches.org.
To view the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) respiratory irritation forecast, visit habforecast.gcoos.org.
You can also check the FWC’s fish kill database and report fish kills on its website.