Red tide found in samples along Gulf Coast

Posted at 7:36 AM, Apr 11, 2016

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- Officials say a bloom of Florida red tide remained over the weekend along Tampa Bay-area beaches, killing fish and causing respiratory irritation in swimmers.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a news release that high concentrations of red tide were found recently in samples taken from beaches along Pinellas County.

Low levels of red tide were also present in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties.

Red tide is an algal bloom that can be harmful for fish, marine mammals and humans, with people sometimes experiencing coughing, sneezing or a scratchy throat when red tide is present. The toxins can also make fish and shellfish dangerous to eat.

Officials say fish kills were reported earlier last week along Madeira and Indians Shores beaches in Pinellas County.