Venice Travel Planner logo   Florida Red Tide
Florida red tide is a natural, unpredictable phenomenon that can make your favorite Southwest Florida beach uncomfortable, or even impossible to visit. Luckily, Florida has lots of other beaches.


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Florida Red Tide is a natural phenomenon caused by proliferation of Karenia brevis algae in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The algae produce toxins which can poison marine life and, propelled into the air by wave action, can cause respiratory distress in humans and animals on land.

A heavy infestation of red tide can make a beach un-visitable, both because of the respiratory effects (nose and throat irritation, sneezing, coughing, mucus production, watery eyes); the stench from rotting fish killed by the algae toxins, and the danger of stepping on sharp fish bones hidden in the sand.

Florida Red Tide Sign, Service Club Beach, Venice, Florida
Florida Red Tide Sign, Service Club Beach, Venice, Florida

Red tide, though unpredictable, is most likely in summer, though winter infestations have been recorded.

Red tide is usually concentrated on some Gulf beaches, and minimal or absent from others. If your favorite beach has a heavy infestation, consider traveling a little farther to a beach that is not affected seriously (or at all).

Here's how to check on areas affected by red tide:

—Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida Health—Sarasota County

Mote Marinelife Laboratory

Here is a more detailed report on a meeting about the causes, dangers, and solutions to red tide.


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Service Club Beach, Venice, Florida

Service Club Beach, Venice, Florida.