Red tide update: Blooms, dead fish impacting Pinellas County waters

Red Tide

(Todd Davis/WFLA photo)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Red tide blooms and fish kills are impacting several waterways in Pinellas County, according to a news release county officials sent out Wednesday.

A spokesperson says the county will be sending out updates about the red tide impacting the county’s beaches and waterways, and will also be providing updates on the county’s response.

According to Wednesday’s update, a contractor hired by the county set up staging equipment on Madeira Beach and “retrieved dead fish in support of our municipalities, some of which are conducting their own cleanup and raking.” The county says it is aiming to keep beaches as clean as possible. Small boats will be added to the efforts on Thursday to “address conditions within the Intracoastal Waterway.”

Staff members flew over the county in a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Wednesday to observe the conditions. Here’s what they say they found:

  • A bloom was spotted along the shoreline from John’s Pass to Clearwater Pass.
  • A bloom was seen about one mile west of Clearwater Beach. The bloom extends to Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island.
  • Bloom activity described as “light in color” was noticed in the Intracoastal Waterway from the Anclote River to Belleair Causeway.
  • “Significant numbers” of dead fish were reported at the seawall in Dunedin.

“The conditions in north Pinellas County suggests that the bloom activity is still moving north,” the county spokesperson said. “Northern movement is predicted to continue for about another week.”

The Visit St. Pete Clearwater website is actively updating red tide information for local beaches. Notices were posted for the following beaches as of Tuesday night:

  • Honeymoon Island: Low levels of red tide conditions reported
  • Clearwater Beach: Medium levels of red tide conditions reported
  • Sand Key: High levels of red tide conditions reported
  • Belleair Beach: High levels of red tide conditions reported
  • Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach: High levels of red tide conditions reported
  • North Redington/Redington Beach: Low levels of red tide conditions reported
  • Madeira Beach: Medium levels of red tide conditions reported
  • Treasure Island: Medium levels of red tide conditions reported

Outside of Pinellas County, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says red tide was observed in very low to medium concentrations in six Hillsborough County samples, background to medium concentrations in 12 Manatee County samples and background concentrations in five Sarasota County samples.

(FWC photo)

Fish kills were reported in Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties and respiratory irritation was reported in Pinellas County, according to the FWC’s mid-week update.

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