Dead fish and respiratory irritation reported at Naples beaches, report says

Dead fish and respiratory irritation were reported at Naples beaches from Vanderbilt Beach to Gordon Pass, according to the Collier County Red Tide Status report.

Respiratory irritation is possible at beaches between Bonita Beach and Cape Romano through Oct. 17.

"People with chronic respiratory illnesses such as asthma or emphysema should avoid going to the beach as these illnesses may be aggravated," the report reads.

Results from samples obtained from Collier County beaches on Oct. 14 show high to not present levels of Karenia brevis, the organism that causes red tide, according to the report.

Horizon Way Beach showed high levels, meaning respiratory irritation and fish kills are probable along with discoloration of the water.

"High levels of red tide can make the water appear somewhat rusty red in color," Rhonda J. Watkins, principal environmental specialist at Collier County Pollution Control wrote in an email to the Eagle. "It’s this discoloration that gave it the name "red tide.” "

Vanderbilt Beach showed medium levels, meaning respiratory irritation and fish kills are probable, and Barefoot Beach showed low levels.

Low levels indicate that respiratory irritation and fish kills are possible.

Karenia brevis was not present on Naples Pier, according to the report, despite being 4 miles away from Horizon Way Beach.

"Red tide is extremely patchy and it moves with currents and winds," Watkins wrote. "Levels can vary from beach to beach and this changes daily."

The Eagle reported dozens of dead fish washed ashore Oct. 9 on South Beach on Marco Island.

More:Dozens of fish, sea turtle found dead on Marco Island as red tide threat grows

The fish found were likely dead due to red tide, according to Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

"These fish kills are likely due to red tide," a spokesperson for FWC wrote in an email to the Eagle at the time. "There are high concentrations in the area."

The Eagle spotted no dead fish on the area on Oct. 15.

A sample obtained on South Beach on Oct. 14 showed background levels of Karenia brevis, according to the report.

Background levels indicate that Karenia brevis was found but at concentrations considered to be natural conditions that would not cause any red tide impacts, according to Watkins.

The guests of JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort were not affected by red tide last week, according to Amanda Cox, director of sales and marketing.

"We didn't see any impacts to our guests," Cox said. "We didn't report any cancellations and guests didn't report any health issues."

The next sample collection from Collier County will be on Oct. 17 and the results should be available late Oct. 18.

Facts about red tide

  • A red tide, or harmful algal bloom, is a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga (plantlike organism), according to the FWC website. 
  • At high enough concentrations, red tide can discolor water a red or brown hue. The water can also remain its normal color during a bloom.
  • Red tides were documented in the southern Gulf of Mexico as far back as the 1700s and along Florida's Gulf coast in the 1840s. Fish kills near Tampa Bay were even mentioned in the records of Spanish explorers.
  • Red tides in Florida develop 10-40 miles offshore, away from man-made nutrient sources.
  • There is no direct link between nutrient pollution and the frequency or initiation of red tides caused by Karenia brevis. However, once red tides are transported inshore, they are capable of using man-made nutrients for their growth.
  • No single factor causes blooms of Karenia brevis.