Red Tide - Is It Here or Not?

RED TIDE! Agghh! Stephen King! Agghh! Aliens that come out of your stomach!

RED TIDE! Agghh! Stephen King! Agghh! Aliens that come out of your stomach! Agghh!

You know, I've been a professional in the news business for 16 years now, and what I've found is that certain reporters -- or editors -- or news organizations -- or all three, simply skew news reports toward the fantstical. It's that simple -- some do, some don't The slants these organizations take towards reporting the news come from the top down because if the top brass doesn't allow it, it doesn't happen. My comment has to do with some reports this season about the Red Tide being off Florida's West coast. 

Up to now, we have had reports that indicate some Red Tide comprised of various organisms off the coast of Florida. We have had other reports that say it is eating everything in Tampa Bay, which were reported by various news outlets and squashed by Captain Mark Hubbard. So far, to the best of our knowledge, some fish kills have occurred, mostly in the Northwest Gulf of Mexico.

red-11Some Red Tide from a couple of years ago.

Readers of The Online Fisherman have seen a few reports on Red Tide in the past 60 days -- this is after all, Red Tide season. The reports that we, the Editorial Team at TOF, put up, are strictly from the FWC, and / or from area Captains and fishermen who report to us daily on what they see with their own eyes. Why do we use them? Because the FWC doesn't need to hype the news and neither do local fishermen. It doesn't benefit either of them in any way.

In fact, if issues such as the Red Tide are overreported, they can detrimentally affect local fishermen who make a living taking folks fishing and so forth. It is the same as when CNN reported that the Gulf areas and Tampa Bay were inundated with oil from the BP spill, when nothing was here.  

You never know -- Red Tide does move around -- one day it can be here and after a good strong overnight breeze and tidal movement, it's gone.

It seems that maybe CBS News has better sources than the FWC does when it comes to Red Tide. I don't know -- both organizations use the same satellite images supplied by the University of South Florida. The major strain of Red Tide that is moving around the Gulf lately is called Karenia brevis, which has been sitting off the West coast of Florida for quite awhile now, and it hasn't been moving much. Reports from fishermen vary. There are two other strains that are causing minor trouble, one off Clearwater Beach. But it seems that CBS News thinks we are in line to get whacked on Florida's West Coast. Perhaps they know more than the FWC? I will give them credit; they contacted a couple of local fishermen for reports.

We offer both reports here, and we'll let you decide. If you see any significant Red Tide while on the water, please contact us.You can e-mail reports to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call (727) 487-1107. Ask for Paul.

FWC - Red Tide Summary (September 19, 2014) - Here is the FWC's Latest Take.

A patchy bloom of Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, continues in the northeast Gulf of Mexico. Satellite images from the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at the University of South Florida show a surface bloom approximately 5 to 35 miles offshore, dependent on location, between Taylor and Pasco counties, and less than 3 miles offshore of Cedar Key (Levy County). Concentrations of the red tide organism in these areas range from background to medium.

Fish kills have been reported off Horseshoe Beach (Dixie County) and approximately 9-12 miles offshore of Keaton Beach (Taylor County), as well as offshore in the bloom area. No respiratory irritation has been reported alongshore the west coast of Florida; however, respiratory irritation is possible in the bloom areas.

Karenia brevis was not detected in, along, or offshore of Walton, Bay, Franklin, Escambia, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Collier, or Monroe counties. No samples were analyzed this week from Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Gulf, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Citrus, or Pasco counties. Additional samples analyzed throughout Florida this week did not contain Karenia brevis.

Forecasts by the USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides for the next three days show offshore movement of surface waters and onshore movement of bottom waters for the bloom patch located at the coast near Levy County. Offshore of Pasco and Hernando Counties, the surface patch is predicted to move WNW, and bottom waters are predicted to move SE towards the coast. The patch located south between Wakulla and Taylor counties and ESE of Franklin County is predicted to move west towards the coast.

09-11-18Satellite image of Red Tide from 9-19-14.

Aerial and boat surveys by FWC staff along the west coast of Florida over the past week, in conjunction with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, have revealed blooms of the colonial cyanobacterium Trichodesmium spp. approximately 1 to 5 miles offshore of Clearwater Beach (Pinellas County) south to Sanibel Island (Lee County) and offshore in the current red tide bloom areas.

(This is backed up by reports on 9/22 by our local Captains).

A bloom of Pyrodinium bahamense has been ongoing in Tampa Bay since May, and discolored water has been reported.

FWC has received multiple reports of fish kills and reports of discolored water over the past month in the Indian River Lagoon system (Brevard County). Sampling has revealed bloom concentrations of multiple algae species, including Pyrodinium bahamense and Limnothrix spp.

At the University of South Florida (USF) College Of Marine Science, the Collaboration for the Prediction of Red Tides uses forecast models to track and predict harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the southeastern United States and reports current conditions. Experimental products include Karenia flag maps of bloom locations and 3.5-day HAB trajectory forecasts. The center is a cooperative venture with the FWC.

CBS News Report on Florida's Red Tide - 9/17/14

This is a fairly long and interesting report, as it delves into the financial aspects of addressing Red Tide in Florida. The title is, "Florida Braces for Another 'Red Tide' of Toxic Algae."

In this report, which is signed by CBS / AP, which means that CBS News took a report generated by the Associated Press and did further work on it, or "embellished" it, depending upon how you view things.

Here's a taste of the frightening Stephen King movie that they say is coming our way.

"It's like Florida's version of The Blob. Slow moving glops of toxic algae in the northeast Gulf of Mexico are killing sea turtles, sharks and fish, and threatening the waters and beaches that fuel the region's economy. Known as "red tide," this particular strain called Karenia brevis is present nearly every year off Florida, but large blooms can be particularly devastating. Right now, the algae is collecting in an area about 60 miles wide and 100 miles long, about 5 to 15 miles off St. Petersburg in the south and stretching north to Florida's Big Bend, where the peninsula ends and the Panhandle begins."                                                 

You can read the rest of the story here.

*We at The Online Fisherman take the Red Tide seriously, as it affects our friends and our visitors.
*Please stay tuned for an updated report at the end of this week.
*If anyone has personally viewed any Red Tide blooms, please e-mail your report to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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