Red tide is currently present in the Tampa Bay area (Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota Counties, and points south). We don't typically have to think about red tide during the cooler months because the bacteria grows best in warm water, but it's out there now. I was out fishing this past weekend and we had to get pretty far from shore before the water cleared up and we stopped seeing dead fish. It was really sad.
If you're heading out on the water or to our beaches, it's a good idea to check the red tide status first. The FWC has a red tide map that shows water quality levels so you can see where the red tide is (and isn't). HERE is the map.
Be aware that red tide can cause respiratory problems, so if you are prone to breathing issues it's a good idea to stay away from beaches/water where the bacteria is present. Do not go into the water if there are dead fish on the shore; it's a sign of red tide in the water.
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