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Gulf Beaches Experiencing Heavy Red Tide Outbreaks

Map of red tide
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
High concentrations of red tide are being detected off many Gulf beaches

A health advisory is being issued for many Pinellas beaches this weekend, with onshore breezes expected to make many red tide conditions worse.

Red Tide continues to cause fish kills in Tampa Bay, but the blooms are becoming less intense, according to Friday's red tide status report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Heavy concentrations are now being found along the Pinellas beaches, and fish kills are being reported off Pasco and Hernando counties.

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County issued a health advisory for many beaches earlier this week. Beachgoers are being warned that onshore winds may cause stronger red tide impacts this weekend. People with respiratory problems are being urged to avoid areas near the water.

Map of red tide outbreaks
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Red Tide outbreaks

High levels of the organism causing red tide was found in 69 samples this week. Those include 29 in Pinellas, 22 in Sarasota County, 10 in Pasco and four in Hillsborough counties.

Pinellas beaches that have high levels of red tide reported include Anclote Key, Indian Rocks Beach, Redington Beach, Madeira Beach, John's Pass, Treasure Island, Upham Beach and Pass-a-Grille.

Also reporting high levels are Bradenton Beach, Longboat Pass, Longboat Key Beach and North Lido Beach.

Heavy concentrations of blue-green algae are also being reported in southern Tampa Bay, from the Little Manatee River to Anna Maria Island.

Map of blue-green algae outbreaks
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Blue-green algae outbreaks are being reported in Tampa Bay

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.