MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. -- Low levels of red tide, the toxic algae bloom, has now been detected in parts of Pinellas County.
- Low levels of red tide detected in Pinellas
- Business owners worry they could take big hit
- Thousands of fish have washed ashore because of red tide
Red tide has been responsible for thousands of marine life washing ashore in Manatee County and Southwest Florida.
Business owners in the Pinellas County area now worry they could take a big hit if red tide gets worse.
For the last couple of years, Tyler Wells and Tyler Morris have operated Saltwater Destination on Madeira Beach. They rent out umbrellas, chairs, and paddleboards.
Their business relies on the weather and the water.
"This is basically our bread and butter," Wells said. "We're out here from sun up to sun down. If there's danger in the water, that could shut our doors."
It’s a fear that’s been creeping up the coastline as red tide continues to plague Bay area beaches.
The water in Madeira Beach is clear and free of dead fish, but low levels have been detected in Pinellas County.
"That's our red flag that that could essentially be the trigger that really pumps the breaks on the end of the summer," Morris said.
Both Wells and Morris said they have recently noticed smaller crowds.
"So far, knock on wood we've been very lucky at Madeira beach to still see cleaner water, but I think that fear factor affects the weekend traffic flow and even through the weekdays we've noticed it's a lot quieter than normal," Morris said.
They’re keeping their fingers crossed but are ready to take action if conditions get any worse.
"If anything is to make it this far I guess we'll be out here doing our best to pick it up and get it back to normal as soon as possible," Morris said.
Low concentrations and background levels of red tide have been detected at Fort Desoto, John’s Pass, and Redington Beach.
Pinellas County has set up its own web page to track red tide updates.