ENGLEWOOD — The good news for Mark Kenady was the east wind Thursday and Friday blowing the worst effects of red tide offshore from Manasota Key.
“Thursday was beautiful,” said Kenady, who owns the Seaview Beach Chair Rentals concession at the public Englewood Beach.
“It was one of the best days in the month — and today is starting out the same way,” he said Friday morning.
However Don Pedro Island resident Ken Conner reported Friday afternoon the winds had shifted out of the northwest and made breathing difficult. Some people wore face masks Friday so they could breathe, he said. He also reported fresh-killed fish washing up out of the Gulf.
“The stench is pretty strong,” Conner said.
Charlotte and Sarasota counties are cleaning the public beaches of dead fish washing up from red tide.
But dead fish are being pulled into Lemon Bay and are decomposing on its western shoreline. Dead fish also can be found floating in finger canals like the one at Holiday Drive on South Manasota Key. They also litter the bay shoreline of Stump Pass Beach State Park at the southern tip of Manasota Key.
According to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission red tide report Friday, medium to high concentrations of red tide algae — Karenia brevis — were found alongshore of Sarasota and Charlotte counties, with the highest concentrations at Manasota Beach.
The massive algal bloom extends from Lee County north into Sarasota County.
FWC researcher Alina Corcoran said samples taken from the public Englewood, Blind Pass and Manasota beaches Tuesday showed red tide algae in high concentrations — more than 1 million cells per liter of seawater. Off Gasparilla Island, medium concentrations were detected — 100,000 cells to less than 1 million cells per liter.
Red tide algae are natural to the Gulf in “background” concentrations of 1,000 cells or less per liter of water.
Manatee and northern Sarasota counties contained concentrations ranging from background to low. Lee County’s Pine Island Sound and offshore Lee County showed background to high concentrations.
FWC plans to take water samples from Lemon Bay next week, Corcoran said.
The public is encouraged to report red tide conditions or any other fish kills to the FWC hotline at 800-636-0511. Call 866-300-9399 to hear recorded reports of red tide throughout the state, or go to www.myfwc.com/research/redtide.
Mote Marine Laboratory tracks red tide in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Mote also posts beach conditions for 25 different public beaches at www.mote.org/beaches.