Is Red Tide Toxic to Humans?

Is Red Tide Toxic to Humans?

From time to time, when the deepwater miles off the coast of Florida meets a specific set of conditions—temperature, salinity and water current—it can give rise to a unique phenomenon known as red tide. Though red tide occurs at various spots around the globe, the red tide in Florida is unique. It can kill wildlife and pollute the waters, so it’s only natural for visitors and Fort Lauderdale locals to be curious and ask, “Is red tide harmful?”

Red tide is harmful to fish and birds

When a specific red algae known as Karenia brevis eliminates all of the competition in its area, it can stain the water red. This red tide secretes a substance called brevetoxins, which, as you can probably guess from the name, is toxic. The brevetoxins accumulate in the fish’s stomach and assault its central nervous system, resulting in death.

When a red tide is pulled and pushed across the ocean, it can be harmful to birds and other marine life, as well.

Are fish safe to eat during a bloom?

The fishing industry has had literally hundreds of years to adjust to the occurrence of red tide. Karenia brevis existed long before the first commercial fishermen. As a result, fishers in Florida have become adept at fishing around red tide blooms.

That said, during a bloom, you should take some extra precautions:

  • Only filleted fish is safe to eat. Since the filet process removes a fish’s guts, the brevetoxins that build up there are eliminated, as well.
  • Commercial shellfish, like the kinds served in stores and restaurants, are typically safe to eat, as the shellfish industry is rigorously scrutinized, especially during a bloom.
  • Unfortunately, recreationally-harvested shellfish is a no-go.

Is red tide toxic in Fort Lauderdale, FL? With a little education and some common sense, it doesn’t have to be. You should still be able to enjoy seafood during a red tide bloom.

What are the ill effects of red tide?

Some portion of the red tide is carried through the air in spores. These microscopic particles can cause sneezing, runny nose and eye irritation in healthy adults, but they can be particularly harmful for anyone with a chronic respiratory problem. That said, some people feel little respiratory irritation when they encounter red tides.

When a red tide hits the shore, those same airborne particles that only moderately irritate you can prove toxic to household pets. If you’re on the beach during a red tide, it’s best to keep dogs and cats indoors.

Education, service and quality

At Starboard Yacht Group in Fort Lauderdale, FL, we’re happy to answer the question, “Is red tide harmful?” because education is just one part of our comprehensive approach to customer service.

Your satisfaction is our top priority, whether you require our world-class captain and crew services, you need a top-flight maintenance team or anything else in between. Detailing, engineering, fueling and hauling—we do it all, and with the style and service you deserve. Visit us online or give us a call today. We look forward to working with you soon!