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Red Tide continues to affect waters off SW Florida beaches

Posted at 3:05 PM, Dec 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-19 15:05:55-05

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - Red tide is once again continuing its reign over Manatee beaches since September.

The Bradenton Herald reports that according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's red tide status report, eight water samples collected from Manatee showed very low to high concentrations of red tide. Similar readings were found in 20 samples from Sarasota County.

Samples in five Charlotte County testing sites last week indicate medium levels of the toxin.

Lee County testing sites found low and very low levels at several locations.  Collier County got all "not present" results for red tide.

Red tide happens when a certain kind of phytoplankton gathers in high concentrations, giving off toxins that are harmful to wildlife and humans.

Typically, red tide season is from late summer to early fall. It's responsible for hundreds and hundreds of fish kills and causes respiratory irritation and watery eyes in people. Not a lot is known about how red tide forms, but Gulf Coast scientists are studying many aspects to understand more.

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Information from: The Bradenton (Fla.) Herald , http://www.bradenton.com

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