MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- The red tide bloom that's been killing thousands of fish in Sarasota County appears to be creeping into Manatee County.

  • Red tide has killed thousands of sea life in south Florida
  • Tide is expected to move north
  • Dead fish are washing up on some Manatee County beaches

On Sunday, beachgoers at Coquina Beach say they saw dozens of dead fish on the shore and floating in the water.

Some say they felt the familiar respiratory irritation that goes along with red tide.

"The beaches were beautiful the first three days, but now not so much," said Heidi McClean, who is visiting from Atlanta.

Over on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach residents are experiencing the same effects.

"The second I walked out the door, it's that choking thing," said Robyn Forsythe, manager at the Island Time Inn.

Forsythe said the six-room hotel was fielding call after call last week, as vacationers were leaving Sarasota and heading north to escape the red tide.

Now the hotel is getting hit with cancelations.

"People just saying, we're leaving the area and not going to stay here," Forsythe said. "We're usually packed full right now, but because of this, it just really slams us."

Mote Marine Laboratory tracks beach conditions daily. According to its Sunday morning report, beachgoers will likely see high levels of dead fish and respiratory irritation at both Manatee Beach and Coquina Beach.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's final report on Friday shows background concentrations of red tide in two samples from Manatee County.

A spokesperson for FWC says the agency has received a number of calls regarding dead fish and respiratory symptoms in the area.