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Red Tide may recede in Tampa Bay but worsen off Pinellas beaches

Toxic algae have devastated local waters, killing immense numbers of fish and other sea life. Some manatees have been found dead, too.

ST. PETERSBURG — The latest Red Tide monitoring shows some improvement within Tampa Bay, officials say, but conditions are worsening for several gulf beaches.

“Our aerial imagery is showing that the bloom has kind of transported out of the mouth over the last few days. Within the bay ... it’s night and day from a week ago,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Eric Sutton. “However the bloom has now moved, it’s off the coast, and it’s expanded, and we’ve seen high bloom concentrations from Longboat Key up essentially to Dunedin and that area.”

Red Tide is “pretty extensive” off the beaches, Sutton told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday. It is atypical for a toxic bloom to reach as far into the bay as it did this month, but more common in the gulf. In some spots on the western shore, Sutton said, the Red Tide has reached all the way up to the beach, while in other places it may be drifting a mile or so offshore. The bloom is not one unbroken block of algae but pockets that move according to winds, tides and other environmental factors.