SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. --The red tide organism, Karenia brevis, still remains in Southwest Florida from northern Pinellas to northern Collier counties, and extends offshore (10 miles or more).
Red tide concentrations increased in northern Collier counties over the past week. High observations also occurred in Southwest Florida over the past week in Charlotte and Lee counties and 25 miles offshore of Lee County.
Reports of fish kills were received for multiple locations in and/or offshore of Charlotte and Lee counties.
Respiratory irritation was reported in Southwest Florida in Lee County.
This comes after a week where red tide levels appeared to decrease. Dr. Rick Bartleson at the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation said tropical storm Gordon may have helped with levels temporarily. "The surface layer of the water had a lot of karenia in it, that got pushed away from shore," he said.
Bartleson said patches of red tide certainly remain. He says changing temperatures in the winter may help. "A 10 degree centigrade lower temperature would slow down the growth by half, and that helps keep numbers down," he said.
But motion and nutrient-laced runoff the gulf has seen recently also plays a factor, so despite cooler temperatures, red tide may not go away. "What's going to make it go away is hard to say."