Monday, July 31, 2017

Red tide found in background concentrations near St. Joe Bay

Red tide was found in background concentrations in one water sample taken from the St. Joe Bay last week.

According to the state's weekly red tide report, the positive sample was found off the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Northeast of the St. Joseph Bay.

Red Tide is an organism that in large enough concentrations releases a neurotoxin that can kill fish and even affect humans with eye, nose and throat irritation.

In 2015 a persistent red tide bloom decimated the scallop population in St. Joe Bay.

The scallops are rebounding, but the opening of scallop season has been delayed because of an algae bloom.

The Bay Scallop season in Gulf County was supposed to open on July 25th but was postponed for at least 2 weeks because of a Pseudo-nitzschia bloom.

The algae does not harm scallops directly and shouldn’t cause scallop population declines, but it does produce domoic acid, which can negatively impact marine mammals and seabirds and can cause Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning in humans if contaminated shellfish are consumed.

State agencies will continue sampling and testing scallops and other shellfish in the bay to determine when they are safe for consumption and will continue to work with the local community to determine options on the remainder of the scallop season.