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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just in time for the weekend, Miami-Dade beaches are reopened and Broward county beaches never closed following red tide lingering along the coastline.
Deerfield Beach confirmed Friday afternoon that water samples taken Thursday showed low concentrations of the naturally-occurring red tide.
County officials also said red tide is not present at Hillsboro and Dania Beaches.
They said very low concentrations were found at Pompano, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Fort Lauderdale, and Hollywood Beaches, Dr. Von D. Mizell Eula Johnson State Park and Hallandale Beach.
The County will collect additional samples next week so the FWC can continue monitoring the concentration levels of the algae bloom.
Meantime, the City will continue to fly Red and Purple flags, which indicate high hazard water conditions, and marine pests. Ocean Rescue has also added “Red Tide” to the boards on the lifeguard towers, and new signage indicating Red Tide will be displayed at the beach on Saturday, October 6, 2018.
Also, in an abundance of caution, the International Fishing Pier will not allow angling and will be closed to the public Friday and Saturday between 12 am, and 6 am.
Most South Florida beaches were open Friday with warnings posted about the toxic algae
“My eyes got teary-eyed, which is why I’m wearing sunglasses, and kind of irritated,” one beach goer said.
She left South Beach well after sunset.
To the north, in Fort Lauderdale, people there have been dealing with similar conditions.
“Eyes are starting to get itchy. I guess we should’ve stayed home but we like being at the beach,” Robert McLaughlin said.
On Thursday, the beaches north of the Haulover Inlet were closed due to moderate levels of algae linked to red tide. But all beaches reopened Friday.
In Broward, beachgoers are still suffering sniffles, coughs, sneezes and sore throats.
“Every breath and a half I just let out a cough,” said Lenny Katz. “A dry cough.”
In addition to affecting humans, red tide produces toxins that are lethal to fish and shellfish. The Florida red tide organism, known as K. brevis, produces brevetoxins that can affect the central nervous system of fish and other vertebrates, causing these animals to die.
“It’s bad for tourism, it’s bad for us,” said charter boat captain Chad Reyney.
Wave action can break open K. brevis cells and release these toxins into the air, leading to respiratory irritation in humans.
For those with respiratory conditions, the red tide toxins can be a major health issue.
In a release sent out late Thursday afternoon, Broward County acknowledged the existence of red tide symptoms.
“While analyses are still pending in Broward County, several recent reports of respiratory discomfort by beach visitors in Broward County suggest that the K. Brevis organism is also present in coastal waters of Broward County, likely at similar concentrations.”
To read the full release, click here.
“We are seeing conditions that leads us and the Fish and Wildlife Commission to believe the red tide algae is present off the waters of Fort Lauderdale Beach. Red tide has already been detected in both Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties, in low and moderate levels, to our north and to our south,” said Ft. Lauderdale May Dean Trantalis at a news conference Thursday evening.
The red tide has devastated Florida’s West coast for months, rendering the shores, the gulf, and inlets a cesspool, an environmental disaster.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is offering $3 million in grants to St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties to help mitigate the effects of red tide. DEP and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have been in contact with each impacted county to ensure they have every resource needed to combat red tide. Additionally, DEP and FWC continue to monitor for red tide along Florida’s coasts.