According to the red tide report from the FWC, karenia brevis, the organism responsible for red tide, was found in the Lower Keys this past week.
“Water samplings in the Florida Keys has shown the presence of karenia brevis there since Hurricane Michael,” said Michelle Kerr, of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. The samples tested positive for low-levels of Karenia brevis on October 12th at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park and at Looe Key Reef.
The FWC states that over the past week, while karenia brevis has decreased in parts of Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties, background to low concentrations were confirmed in Monroe County.
“Because red tide does not affect the fish muscles, it is still safe to consume fresh fish as long as it is healthy looking,” Kerr stated, but added that it is important that the public reports fish kills so that the FWC can continue to track them.
The public can report fish kills on this link, or by calling 800-636-0511.
“High concentrations can cause respiratory irritation in humans, but it can be felt at low levels as well,” Kerr added.
The FWC does not know if the levels will increase or decrease, but the daily sampling chart for karenia brevis can be viewed on the FWC website (yellow dots shown on the left represent its presence in low levels; grey not present).