Red tide along extreme northwest Florida beaches
The Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, has been present in southwest Florida for the last couple of months. The higher-than-normal concentration of red tide caused marine life to die which was then carried west due to a stiff easterly wind.
As Hurricane Michael was tracking north through the Gulf of Mexico, northwest Florida had an easterly wind a couple of days before Michael made landfall. This not only brought a rough surf to northwest Florida, but it also carried dead fish westward as dead fish have been seen around area beaches, on community members destroyed docks and in some cases even in peoples backyards.
The University of South Florida is predicting the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, to be present but classified in a very low cell category across extreme northwest Florida over the weekend. Karenia brevis has already been observed this year in Gulf of Mexico waters in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay counties.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission "Karenia brevis produces brevetoxins capable of killing fish, birds and other marine animals. Brevetoxins may also cause health problems in humans, including respiratory irritation when wave action breaks open cells and the toxins become airborne."
* FWCC reports that typically any symptoms people feel while in the area of a red tide bloom will subside shortly after leaving the affected coastal environment.