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Red Tide Information

Red Tide is algae bloom, a phenomenon where algae rapidly accumulate in a concentrated area in coastal waters. These algae can form visible patches near the water's surface that contain photosynthetic pigments which can be shades of green, brown or red. In high concentrations, the water can appear discolored in a variety of colors with red being the most common. Some red tides produce natural toxins and oxygen depletion among their harmful effects., Red tides can cause illness or death in a variety of wildlife including fish, birds and marine mammals. In Florida red tides are frequently caused by exposure to a neurotoxin called brevetoxin.

People may experience respiratory problems such as coughing, sneezing, and tearing when red tide outbreaks occur along the coast. Offshore winds can blow these toxic effects onshore. Swimmers may experience skin irritation in areas of high concentration.

Red tide condition reports can be obtained from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission at http://research.myfwc.com/features/view_article.asp?id=12373.

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