The red tide advisory—originally put in place on Dec. 28, 2022—was finally lifted from all 16 Sarasota County beaches On Mar. 24, deeming the southwest coast safe for visitors…only to be put back in place for select beaches one week later on Mar. 30.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) provides weekly updates on the status of the red tide concentration throughout the state, detailing the algae content in Florida oceans. From 83 samples taken in mid-March, the FWC concluded that Hillsborough, Sarasota, Lee and Collier Counties had low concentrations, while Manatee County had medium concentrations of red tide. However, on Mar. 30 it was announced that the advisory would be reissued to the public due to a sharp increase in red tide.
The FWC released an updated report on Mar. 31 which further confirmed the red tide spike. The sample report states that Hillsborough County had low concentrations, Manatee, Lee and Collier Counties had medium concentrations and Sarasota County was back to high concentrations.This constantly-shifting red tide prevents recreational activities in the area as the peak of Florida’s tourism season encroaches—only exasperated by the 5,000 mile wide Sargassum seaweed “blob” heading to Florida’s coast.
It has been advised by the Florida Health Department to look for signage posted at local beaches, stay away from the ocean, not to harvest fish or mollusks and wear a mask if you are going to be close to the shorelines to avoid respiratory issues.