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Storm’s waves help to disrupt red tide

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

The far-reaching bands of Hurricane Mathew had one positive impact on Florida’s coast: it helped disrupt the red tide bloom that has lingered off Longboat Key over the past two weeks.

Town Manager Dave Bullock told the Longboat Key Commission that staff and contractors had removed about 100,000 pounds of dead fish from beaches over the past weeks and the swirling currents generated by Mathew have washed most of the inventory of carcasses far from Longboat’s shore.

Hurricane Matthew spared Longboat key and Sarasota a catastrophic blow, but a steady northwesterly wind gusted to more than 40 mph and waves reached 7 to 12 feet just offshore.

Another impact to Longboat and Cortez and the restaurant community is the fact that Hurricane Matthew preempted the first commercial fishing in the region’s stone crab season.

According to state regulations, crab traps may be dropped into the water 10 days before the opening of the season, which this year starts Oct. 15 and runs through May 15.

 

Mote busy monitoring

Mote Marine Laboratory scientists and others are monitoring elevated levels of the naturally occurring Florida red tide algae, Karenia brevis, along southwest Florida.

When Florida red tide algae cells are present in concentrations elevated above normal “background” levels, people can experience varying degrees of eye, nose, and throat irritation while at the shore or on the water.

Water samples collected by the Florida Department of Health Monday, Oct.3, along Sarasota County and analyzed by Mote showed low to high K. brevis cell counts in all 16 locations. Three locations had high concentrations of K. brevis, including Longboat Key, North Lido Beach and Turtle Beach.  Eight locations had medium concentrations including Ringling Causeway, Lido Casino, South Lido Park, Siesta Key Beach, Nokomis Beach, Venice Beach, Manasota Beach and Blind Pass Beach. Five locations had low concentrations including North Jetty, Service Club Park, Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Beach and Caspersen Beach.

The FWC posts red tide status reports on Wednesdays and Fridays; to view this report and to track red tide blooms, visit MyFWC.com/RedTideStatus.

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