Red tide washes ashore in Gulfport

Some residents suspected raw sewage, but all signs point to Karenia brevis.

click to enlarge Red tide washes ashore in Gulfport
Mike Stephenson via Facebook

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

OK, just kidding, none of us really thought it was safe to go back in the water. But, until now, some of us had held out hope that the biggest red tide season in Florida's history would bypass many of our bays and canals.

As of Tuesday morning, red tide has moved into Boca Ciega Bay near Gulfport. This image, shot by a resident of Town Shores, shows the way Boca Ciega Bay looked at 10 a.m. 

While Monday night's Chef's Table outdoor dining fundraiser had no scent of the algal bloom, according to several patrons at the event, by Tuesday morning the bay had a distinctly brown hue — one that had some Gulfportians suspecting more sewage dumps a la the ones from 2015. 


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This image, however, is consistent with how red tide has looked as it flowed north from the Caloosahatchee River, near Fort Myers. And the FDEP has no pollution notices for sewage spills in southern Pinellas County for the last 30 days.

This year's red tide season started earlier, has lasted longer, and has encompassed more square miles than most red tides. Causes of the extended, enlarged algal bloom include suspicions of outflows from Lake Okeechobee. 


About The Author

Cathy Salustri

Cathy's portfolio includes pieces for Visit Florida, USA Today and regional and local press. In 2016, UPF published Backroads of Paradise, her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era Florida driving tours that was featured in The New York Times. Cathy speaks about Florida history for the Osher Lifelong Learning...
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