INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla. — It remains business as usual along Indian Rocks Beach heading into the Labor Day holiday, but head south onto the tip of Pinellas County and beyond, and red tide is still prominently in play. 

  • Beach nourishment project gives chance to gauge red tide latest
  • Congressman Charlie Crist on hand
  • Red tide off lower Pinellas County coast but not on beach
  • Red tide latest

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, along with Pinellas County officials, walked the beach to monitor a beach nourishment project. 

Crist also spoke about the high concentrations of red tide, now detected about 10 miles off the southern Pinellas coast. Crist said that raises concerns but at the same time gives him reasons to remain optimistic. 

"And I read the same story you did about it being 10 miles off the coast that there is some but it's off the coast," said Crist, the Democratic congressman for District 13. "That's good news. So we can breathe here and you don’t feel it in our lungs and eyes. Hopefully that'll be the case. A little prayer wouldn't hurt."

Although this is the first report of high concentrations of red tide off the Pinellas County coastline, according to officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, parts of Sarasota, Lee and Collier counties have started to show decreased concentrations. 

The version of red tide currently in bloom along the coast is Karenia Brevis, also known as Florida Red Tide. The algae has been documented along Florida's Gulf Coast since the 1840's and occurs nearly every year. 

Most scientists, however, agree this particular bloom has lasted significantly longer and is particularly devastating.