Water-Related News

Health officials issue red tide alert for Lee County

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March 9, 2023

LEE COUNTY – The Florida Department of Health in Lee County (DOH-Lee) has issued health alerts for the presence of a red tide bloom. An alert level of red tide was found near Turner Beach (Captiva), Blind Pass Beach (Sanibel), Buck Key near Blind Pass, Bonita Beach Causeway (Dog Beach), Bonita Beach Park, Little Hickory Island Park, and Boca Grande Beach. This is in response to water samples taken on February 24, February 27, March 1, and March 6.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Look for informational signage posted at most beaches.
  • Stay away from the water, and do not swim in waters with dead fish.
  • Those with chronic respiratory problems should be especially cautious and stay away from this location as red tide can affect your breathing.
  • Do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish or distressed or dead fish from this location. If caught live and healthy, finfish are safe to eat as long as they are filleted and the guts are discarded. Rinse fillets with tap or bottled water.
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and fresh water if you have had recent contact with red tide.
  • Keep pets and livestock away and out of the water, sea foam and dead sea life. If your pet swims in waters with red tide, wash it as soon as possible.
  • Residents living in beach areas are advised to close windows and run the air conditioner, making sure that the A/C filter is maintained according to manufacturer's specifications.
  • If outdoors near an affected location, residents may choose to wear masks, especially if onshore winds are blowing.

A caution level of red tide was found near Bowman’s Beach, Tarpon Bay Road Beach, Lighthouse Beach (Sanibel), and Dixie Beach (Sanibel). A cautionary notice indicates low levels (>10,000-100,000 Karenia brevis cells per liter) of red tide detected in sampling. This is in response to water samples taken on February 27 and March 6.

The department encourages everyone to review