Red tide off Collier beaches diminishes slightly in intensity

A widespread red tide at Collier County beaches has diminished slightly in intensity but still could have effects on people and wildlife, county pollution monitors reported Tuesday.

Red tide is a bloom of microscopic algae that releases a toxin that can cause respiratory irritation in humans and cause fish kills on the beach.

Red tide levels range from very low at Seagate, Vanderbilt Beach and South Marco Beach to low levels at Naples Bay, Big Marco Pass and Caxambas Pass, tests of water samples taken Monday showed.

Satellite imagery indicates that the bloom may stretch as far as 15 miles offshore, from the Lee County line to south of Marco Island.

Onshore winds this afternoon through Thursday morning could worsen the red tide's effect at the beaches but offshore winds after that should minimize effect, according to the county report.

Pollution monitors say they have not gotten any reports of respiratory irritation or fish kills but are warning people with emphysema and asthma to avoid going to the beach.

More samples will be taken Monday. To report red tide symptoms or fish kills, call the Collier County Pollution Control and Prevention Department at 239-252-2502.

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