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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Aquatic Toxins Program

Dead Fish on Siesta Key Beach at Sunset

Red Tide Blooms

As red tide blooms approach coastal areas, breaking waves can cause their toxins to become mixed with airborne sea spray. People in coastal areas can experience varying degrees of eye, nose, and throat irritation. When a person leaves an area with a red tide, symptoms usually go away. People with severe or chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic lung disease are cautioned to avoid areas with active red tides.

Shellfish like clams, oysters, and coquinas that are harvested from areas with active red tides should not be eaten. These shellfish are filter feeders that can concentrate the toxins. Scallops can be consumed if only the scallop muscle is eaten. Scallop stew, using the whole animal including guts, should not be eaten. Seafood, also commonly called shellfish such as crabs, shrimp, and lobster can be eaten because they do not concentrate the toxin.

Additional Information

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Red Tide Rack Card (PDF 897 KB)

Red Tide Business Card (PDF 367 KB)

Information on Florida Red Tides and Their Toxins (PDF 43 KB)

The location of current red tide events within Florida coastal waters as well as links to more detailed information about red tide organisms can be found on the Fish and Wildlife Research lnstitute  (formerly the Florida Marine Research Institute) home page. For more information on red tide and beach conditions in Sarasota County, visit: Our Gulf Environment  

*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF).  The free  Adobe Reader may be required to view these files.