Red Tide over paradise: Sarasota-Manatee struggles through the funk
A dead fish superimposed over a red-tinted ocean. Image created by Mark McDermott.

Red Tide over paradise: Sarasota-Manatee struggles through the funk

Hanging over the Sarasota-Manatee coastal area like a thick and pungent fog, red tide —as defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—is a harmful algal bloom that produces toxins that kill fish, make shellfish unsafe to eat and make surrounding air unsafe to breathe for extended periods of time. After running rampant in Sarasota in the wake of Hurricane Ian’s agitation, red tide returns for another round to wreak havoc on Sarasota shores. With no practical way to contain or kill the oncoming red tide, it’s more important than ever that the red tide is given a close eye.

New College’s Marine Biology courses remain relatively untouched by red tide, even as it hangs overhead for those living in the Sarasota-Bradenton area. Regardless, second-year Gray Henry noted over email the negative repercussions of red tide.

“Depending on how severe that is, it can have an impact on breeding, migrations, food sources and overall populations,” Henry said. “A lot of it depends on timing and severity but obviously red tide causing die-offs at any level will have some effect.”

In spite of its severity, the recent red tide has no connection to the fall’s red tide.

“It [the post-Hurricane Ian red tide] has not had any more lasting effect on the water than other major red tide blooms,” said Henry.

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