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Tag: red tide

Tampa Bay Fishing Report, 12/11/15, Capt. Ray Markham–“Fishing away from red tide is outstanding!”

by on Dec.12, 2015, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Anyone who knows me or has heard me talk about fishing over the past few weeks probably heard me mention red tide. Make no mistake about it, red tide is affecting our fishing where the bloom is present and on the periphery of where it is located. The key to catching fish is to move away from the red tide bloom and the outskirts of it. Healthy fish continue to eat and put on a normal rod-bending show.

Flashing back about ten years, red tide nearly decimated our fishery. In the lower Tampa Bay area, spotted seatrout never fully regained the population of big fish or numbers of fish we had back then, but it was still acceptable to people outside of the fishing capital of the world. While snook populations took it on the chin along with numerous other species, most did survive the ordeal only to be hit by a series of days with hard freezees about five years ago. Nature’s damage can be devastating, but add unethical anglers who kill fish by improper handling or keeping illegal sizes or numbers of fish are other issues.

Recognizing the signs of red tide are the first steps toward finding healthy areas that support active fish. Start with the internet and check out information from the FWC at http://myfwc.com/REDTIDESTATUS. This will give you general areas that are affected. Observation is the next step. Signs of red tide can affect your eyes and breathing along with producing dead fish, but not always. Wind blowing from the direction of the red tide can push dead fish to the perimeter of an affected area or areas that are free of the toxin. If you see or smell it, move. Fish in perimeter areas can be affected but still alive, and act as you might if you are sick and not eat.

Good fishable areas show signs of life and active feeding. The areas that I have fished recently that were good have bait in the area as well as mullet schools. Mullet are late moving out to spawn, but areas around John’s Pass and the ICW up to Indian Rocks produced trout, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, flounder, redfish, snook, and Spanish mackerel. Middle to upper Tampa Bay north of Piney Point to Apollo Beach had exceptional action with snook, trout, redfish, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, and even cobia. The rest of Tampa Bay north to Double Branch was normal with no signs of red tide.

Red tide will move fish and push them to unaffected areas if they escape. By noting the signs and differences of both good and bad areas, you will catch fish.

Capt. Ray Markham specializes in fly and light tackle fishing with artificial lures, charters out of the Tampa Bay area, and may be reached via his website at www.CaptainRayMarkham.com, email at ray.markham@gmail.com, or at (941) 723-2655 for charter.

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Red tide posing problems in portions of Tampa Bay and south By Ray Markham

by on Nov.27, 2015, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

As much as I hate to report this, red tide has again reared its ugly head, stretching from Charlotte Harbor to north Manatee County and parts of the south Pinellas beaches. For charter captains in Charlotte, Sarasota, and parts of Manatee County this has been a real problem keeping bait alive for the live baiters. But on the positive side, bait dying in the livewell is like the proverbial canary in the coal mines. Dying bait instantly tells you to move. But for anglers like myself who fish strictly with artificial lures we have to look for other signs that the toxic bloom is around.

Fish move when the first signs of red tide show up. But not all fish move in the right direction. Some head into back bays and get trapped by the bloom and die. Others remain in schools and die. My first indication is the obvious—dead fish. But when I’m seeing fish but finding that I detect eye or breathing irritation, I move. While fish may be there, the bloom seems to turn the bite off for fish that are present. The old adage of never leave fish to find fish doesn’t apply here. While even healthy fish don’t always bite, if I find irritation and presence of fish I move to find fish without sensing the irritation.

On recent trips down around the Bulkhead and the mouth of the Manatee River we’ve been on schools of redfish, trout, snook, and have caught good numbers of flounder. Mullet schools were jumping everywhere. But on a day following one of those good trips, the area looked like a deserted wasteland. It wasn’t until I moved well up into Tampa Bay that we found more feeding fish. Joe Bay, Bishop’s Harbor, and the South Shore areas seemed to be unaffected and we continued catching fish there with no signs of the red tide there.

I had similar results in areas while fishing off South Pinellas around Fort Desoto. Schooling redfish around Conception Key were there one day and gone the next, and irritation of my eyes was my indicator that the algae bloom may be present. Moving north, the John’s Pass area was in good shape, and fishing that area produced good numbers of redfish, trout, snook, and flounder. Poking my head outside the pass, we caught bluefish and Spanish mackerel.

Noting the signs of a red tide problem may keep you from wasting your time in affected areas that are marginal for killing fish, yet still support life. Fish caught in areas of red tide are ok for consumption as long as they appear to be healthy otherwise. Updated information on red tide can be found at http://myfwc.com/REDTIDESTATUS. To report a fish kill, call 1-800-300-9399.

Capt. Ray Markham specializes in fly and light tackle fishing with artificial lures, charters out of the Tampa Bay area, and may be reached via his website at www.CaptainRayMarkham.com, email at ray.markham@gmail.com, or at (941) 723-2655 for charter.

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Florida’s Lingering Red Tide Finally Disappears, January 2015


From The Fishing Wire:

Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, was not detected in samples collected throughout Florida over the past two weeks.

Tables and maps of sample results are available on our Web site: (http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/events/status/statewide/).

The website also provides links to additional information related to the topic of Florida red tide including satellite imagery, experimental red tide forecasts, shellfish harvesting areas, the FWC Fish Kill Hotline, the Florida Poison Information Center (to report human health effects related to exposure to red tide), and other wildlife related hotlines: (http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/events/status/contact/).

To learn more about various organisms that have been known to cause algal blooms in Florida waters, see our flickr page at (http://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwc) and click on “Harmful Algal Bloom Species”.

The FWRI HAB group in conjunction with Mote Marine Laboratory now have a facebook page. Please come like our page and learn interesting facts concerning red tide and other harmful algal blooms in Florida at: http://facebook.com/FLHABs

This information, including maps and reports with additional details, is also available on our Web site: (http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/events/status/statewide/). The website also provides links to additional information related to the topic of Florida red tide including satellite imagery, experimental red tide forecasts, shellfish harvesting areas, the FWC Fish Kill Hotline, the Florida Poison Information Center (to report human health effects related to exposure to red tide), and other wildlife related hotlines: (http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/events/status/contact/).

To learn more about various organisms that have been known to cause algal blooms in Florida waters, see our flickr page at (http://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwc) and click on “Harmful Algal Bloom Species”.

The FWRI HAB group in conjunction with Mote Marine Laboratory now have a facebook page. Please come like our page and learn interesting facts concerning red tide and other harmful algal blooms in Florida at: http://facebook.com/FLHABs.

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Florida Red Tide Remains Offshore, August 2014


The red tide bloom remains offshore of Florida’s Gulf Coast, and no impacts have been detected alongshore this week as of Wednesday, Aug. 13, according to a team of scientists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Mote Marine Laboratory and the University of South Florida (USF) who continue to monitor the bloom.

According to the last clear satellite images, on Aug. 8, the bloom was reported to be patchy, up to 60 miles wide and 90 miles long, and at least 20 miles offshore between Dixie and northern Pinellas counties. The next update, including coastal water sampling results from this week, will be available on Aug. 15 at myfwc.com/redtidestatus

Recent forecasts by the USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides show slow south-southeast movement of the surface bloom parallel to the coastline, and slow southeast movement of deep waters.

– See more at: http://www.thefishingwire.com/story/326059#sthash.QXf4ilhO.dpuf

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New FWC buoy in Tampa Bay to aid water quality, harmful algal bloom monitoring, December 2013

by on Dec.16, 2013, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

A new buoy deployed this month by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in Old Tampa Bay collects continuous water quality information to help researchers learn more about conditions that trigger harmful algal blooms.
“This buoy fills an important gap in Tampa Bay monitoring efforts,” said Alina Corcoran, who heads harmful algal bloom research at the FWC. “It collects data autonomously, allowing us to gather data without having to go out into the field, and we can communicate to the buoy remotely.”
The buoy, which transmits data every five minutes, complements existing long-term monitoring efforts in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties by capturing short-term changes in water quality. The buoy features a next-generation system that continuously transmits underwater information such as water temperature, salinity, clarity and dissolved oxygen. It also monitors chlorophyll fluorescence, which is a bloom indicator. Above the surface, the buoy has a weather station that collects information such as rainfall and wind speed and direction.
This type of monitoring is critical to help scientists understand the factors that lead to harmful algal blooms in the system. The harmful algal species Pyrodinium bahamense has bloomed annually in Old Tampa Bay in recent years, yet the drivers of blooms are still not entirely understood.
“By using high-resolution data, we will be able to directly link environmental factors like changes in salinity due to rainfall to changes in Pyrodinium bahamense abundance,” said Corcoran.
The data collected will also help managers assess the success of restoration projects and refine water quality standards.
Real-time data will be available online at www.gcoos.org and www.secoora.org. For more information about the FWC’s harmful algal bloom program, visit MyFWC.com/RedTide.

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Learning To Live With Red Tide


Learning To Live With Red Tide

February 28, 2013 | Posted by John Stevely, Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent
Concentrations of this organism (Karenia brevis) can reach millions of cell per quart of water during red tide events. Photo: FWC.

Check out the Beach Conditions Report

Since the devastating red tide of 2005, we have been fortunate in that there have only been infrequent minor red tide events along Florida’s southwest coast. During 2005, residents and tourists were subjected to what seemed like endless months of dead fish washing up on our beaches and beach-goers fled our beaches due to the respiratory distress caused by the neurotoxin produced by the red tide organism – the stench from rotting fish didn’t help matters. Newspapers trumpeted headlines about “dead zones” in the Gulf where essentially every living creature had died.

Red tide is caused by the presence of a microscopic plant-like organism that secretes a nuerotoxin.

Unfortunately, in recent months, there have numerous reports of red tide along Florida’s southwest coastline. We can only hope that we do not see a repeat of the 2005 red tide event during the upcoming year. Such severe red tides like we saw back then usually only occur once every several decades, but there are no guarantees.

Fish killed by red tide. Photo: Tony Reisinger

Red tide is a natural phenomenon.  Accounts of red tides have been reported since the days of the Spanish explorers. Currently, there is debate among scientists as to the extent to which nutrients in urban run-off prolongs and/or intensifies red tide events. Following the red tide of 2005 several local governments have adopted ordinances aimed at trying to reduce nutrient enrichment of run-off by regulating the use of lawn fertilizers. However, even if such measures prove to be effective in reducing the severity of red tide, we will never completely eliminate red tide.

Now we have a tool to help us cope with red tides. Thanks to the Internet you can quickly check the Beach Conditions Report. This website provides a real-time assessment of how severely red tide is affecting local beaches (reports on individual beaches are supposed to be updated twice a day). Information is provided on whether dead fish are present and whether beach-goers are experiencing respiratory problems.

How is this helpful? Let’s say you were thinking of spending a day at the beach or perhaps just enjoying dining at a waterfront restaurant. A few days ago or perhaps last week you remember hearing something about there being red tide in local waters. The prospect of coughing and smelling rotting fish causes you to abandon your plans. However, by checking the Beach Conditions Report you can determine if this is really necessary.

It is important to note that red tide conditions can change from day to day and from beach to beach as water currents sweep the red tide along the coast. Perhaps conditions at your favorite beach have dramatically changed in the past week or even from a few days ago. Perhaps you see that red tide is indeed present at the beach, but conditions at a beach just 10 miles away are fine and you can still take the kids to the beach. My experience has been that this is indeed possible. For example, today (2/28/2013) beach-goers at Siesta Key can expect to experience some slight respiratory distress, but everything seems fine at the Manatee Co. beaches.

We may not be able to completely eliminate red tide, but at least now you can easily obtain the information you need to make good decisions on your water related activities during red tides.

Want more Red Tide information? Check out these websites.

Charlotte Co. Sea Grant Red Tide Fact Sheet

FWC Red Tide Status Report and links to other Red Tide informational links

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January 18, 2013 Red Tide Update for Southwest Florida

by on Jan.19, 2013, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont, Upper Charlotte Harbor

A bloom of Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, persists in the coastal waters of southwest Florida, with the highest counts detected this week alongshore and offshore of Sarasota County.  High concentrations were also detected alongshore of Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties. Low to medium concentrations were found in the Pine Island Sound system. 

Bloom Boundary: The red tide currently affects approximately 140 miles of coastline from Pinellas through Collier County. Respiratory irritation and multiple fish kills continue to be reported in the affected areas.

Click image for southwest coast current status report - January 18, 2013

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A whiff of Red Tide makes for some mixed result, By Capt. Ray Markham, Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor

by on Dec.10, 2012, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

For well over a month, areas from Charlotte Harbor to Tampa Bay have been plagued with bouts of red tide that come and go with the direction of the wind and strength of the tides. This has made consistency of catching good numbers of fish a challenge to say the least. The levels of the algae bloom have not been high enough to kill, but just high enough at times to make fish lethargic and put a damper on their appetites.
We are seeing very good numbers of redfish, and in fact, on numerous occasions we will come upon a school of 100 or more reds. We will stay off the school and make extremely long casts to the perimeter of the fish in order to keep from spooking the school. In that way, we can pick fish off without making the entire school wary of our presence. But some times, the fish just plain won’t eat. We can see the fish, but they act as if they have a flu bug and won’t chew. But when we have been able to get on some fish that would eat, three lures we tossed were effective. Eppinger’s ¼ or 1/2-ounce gold Rex Spoon, a CAL ¼-ounce chartreuse jig head with a gold/glow Shad tail, and a sour lemon color MirrOlure Lil’John rigged on a 1/16-ounce jig head were the producers here.
Last week’s easterly breezes seemed to have blown the bloom offshore, however I have not heard that it had affected the bite out off the beaches. Some anglers have been reporting banner action with tripletail on the stone crab trap buoys, and that tells me things are okay out there. With greater depths, I’m sure the dilution of the bloom would minimize the affect it has on fish. This drop in levels of red tide in the lower Tampa Bay area was reflected in the sampling reports from scientists tracking the algae bloom. Because of this drop, I’m convinced that the increased action we saw with trout, redfish, snook, and flounder over the past week was as a result of cleaner water.
A recent two-boat trip produced the kind of results I’m talking about with the red tide, but even so, novice anglers were able to catch some redfish, ladyfish, and trout.
The weather here has been spectacular, and temperatures have been favorable for just about everything. The prediction for the holidays ahead have been similar to our stellar weather of late, but with a few small fronts moving in, bringing some much needed rain, and a little cooler weather, that will acclimate the fish to the winter weather ahead. For the time being, fish are beginning to make up for their chewing deficit. Typically we can expect excellent action from bigger trout that will be schooling in deep holes and channels, bluefish and Spanish mackerel that will be just outside the bays feeding on the schools of baitfish that have moved off the flats, flounder that will move into the bays and passes from the artificial reefs, and redfish that will work up into skinny water to chew. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham
(941) 723-2655
(941) 228-3474 cell
E-mail: ray.markham@gmail.com

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Sarasota Bay Watch, Red Tide Update, 10/21/12

by on Oct.21, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota

For those of you interested, here’s an update from Sarasota Bay Watch about levels of Karenia Brevis, Red Tide, in the Sarasota Area.

10-19-2012 red tide cell count
GMT 1315

Mote Marine Laboratory
Bay Dock 54,000 cells/L K.brevis
New Pass 111,000 cells/L K.brevis

Yesterday at 4pm was high tide with higher red tide cells concentration,
today is a low tide at 9am. Sampler will collect samples again sometime

this afternoon.

Jim Culter

A few times I have been asked about the relevance of RT reported numbers. The following is from a FWCC brochure.
Karenia brevis cells/liter
NOT PRESENT-BACKGROUND background levels of 1,000 cells or less
No anticipated effects.
>1,000 to 10,000
Possible respiratory irritation; shellfish harvesting closures > 5,000 cells/L
>10,000 to 100,000
Respiratory irritation, possible fish kills and bloom chlorophyll probably detected by satellites at upper limits
>100,000 to 1,000,000
Respiratory irritation and probable fish kills
As above plus discoloration

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Art of Red Tide Science Returns in New Mote Exhibit Opening April 20


Art of Red Tide Science Returns in New Mote Exhibit
Understanding Florida’s red tide is a science and an art – that’s why Mote is teaming up with local art students for a second exhibit on The Art of Red Tide Science.

The new exhibit, building on the successful first exhibit that Mote launched in 2010, will use visual artworks — from posters and videos to T-shirts and toys — to reveal how red tide works and what scientists are learning about it.

The exhibit will open to the public on April 20 at Mote Aquarium and will be free to view with Aquarium admission. Details below.

This project, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, is a team  effort between scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory and students from Ringling College of Art and Design to educate people about red tide.

Educational posters about Florida red tide were among the art and outreach projects displayed at the 2010 Art of Red Tide Science exhibit at Mote Aquarium (Photo Credit: Mote Marine Laboratory). A comic called “The Mote Mariner VS The Red Tide” won Best in Show at the 2010 Art of Red Tide Science exhibit (Photo Credit: Mote Marine Laboratory).

Florida’s red tide blooms can have a huge impact on communities, causing concerns about everything from a bloom’s impact on a local economy to how it affects marine animals like manatees and sea turtles. Blooms are caused by a complicated recipe of biology, chemistry and ocean physics — complicated enough that helping the public understand what’s happening can be difficult.

To help communicate red tide research to the general public, Mote scientists and Ringling students created the first Art of Red Tide Science exhibit in November 2010.

The exhibit concept was developed through teamwork by Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, Manager of Mote’s Environmental Health Program, Dr. Emily Hall, staff scientist in Mote’s Chemical Ecology Program and Anamari Boyes, staff biologist in Mote’s Phytoplankton Ecology Program. Hall and Boyes are adjunct faculty at Ringling, where they teach a course called “Ecology of Water.”

“Our first exhibit was a great success — the students produced excellent educational materials ranging from comic books, Web sites and videos to sculptures and even a board game,” Boyes said. “Some of our students’ projects from 2010 have already been used for further outreach. We hope this semester produces even more excellent outreach tools.”

Outreach from the first Art of Red Tide Science exhibit has included:

The student film “Impact: When Red Tide and Human Health Collide,” which was shown in February at an international Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Puerto Rico hosted by the professional group ASLO (American Society of Limnology and Oceanography).

The student-created comic “The Mote Mariner VS the Red Tide,” which won “best in show” during the 2010 exhibit, was displayed for the public and Florida legislators during 2011 Florida Oceans Day in Tallahassee.

The student projects are featured on a new Facebook page.

“This semester, the projects will be different — our students have all kinds of new ideas,” Hall said.

The current group of 54 students split into small groups to create 14 art projects, including red tide T-shirts and a clothing line, posters and brochures, a puppet show about the Florida red tide algae, Karenia brevis, educational videos, coloring books and even plush toys with information cards.

The students works will be judged by a panel of experts for scientific accuracy, creativity, originality, artistic approach and effort.

Visitor Information

Visitors to Mote Aquarium can view the projects and vote for Best in Show on Wednesday, April 20 through Tuesday, April 26. The exhibit will be in the Jean P. Hendry Conference Hall at Mote’s Ann and Alfred Goldstein Marine Mammal Center, 1703 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota.

Mote Aquarium is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year. 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Fla., 34236. Regular admission prices are $17 for ages 12 and older, $16 for those 65 and older and $12 for youths ages 4 to 12. Children younger than 4 and Mote Members always get in free.

Students, faculty and staff from Ringling College of Art and Design will also receive free admission to Mote Aquarium from April 20-26 when they show their College ID at the admissions desk.

About Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent nonprofit (501(c)3) marine research organization based in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations in eastern Sarasota County, Charlotte Harbor and the Florida Keys. Donations to Mote are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. We are dedicated to advancing the science of the sea through the study of marine and estuarine ecosystems, through our public Mote Aquarium and through an education division that provides unique programs for all ages. Mote has seven centers for scientific research focusing on sharks, sea turtles and marine mammals, coral reefs, the study of toxins in the environment and their effect on human health, aquaculture, coastal ecology and fisheries enhancement. Showcasing this research is Mote Aquarium, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year. Learn more at www.mote.org.

Contact: Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236. (941) 388-4441 or info@mote.org.

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