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Fishing After Red Tide: Is It Safe?

fishing after red tide

After a brief peak of red tide, we’re excited to announce that red tide is retreating from our area! Areas like Fort de Soto, Pass-a-Grille, Egmont Key, and other hot spots are all showing very little or no red tide. 

But does that make it safe to fish? And should you eat what you catch? Today, we’re covering everything you need to know about fishing after red tide! 

How Red Tide Affects Fish

The organism that causes Florida red tides, Karenia brevis, releases a toxic chemical into the water. This is called brevetoxin, and it affects the central nervous system of fish and other small creatures, and is often fatal for them. 

In areas with a lot of red tide, waves can spread brevetoxins into the air, which is how humans breathe them in. Luckily, brevetoxins are only irritating for healthy humans, although they can cause bigger trouble in those with breathing conditions, like asthma or emphysema. 

Given this information, how worried should you be about brevetoxins in the fish after red tide?

Should You Fish After Red Tide in Florida?

Florida fishing

Good news: Once red tide leaves the area, the level of brevetoxins in the local fish population should be between very little and not at all there. This means fishing after red tide gets a thumbs up!

That said, you should still be careful. In very rare cases, brevetoxins could build up in the fish’s gut, but not in a large enough amount to kill the fish. For this reason, filleting your fish is always a safe bet. The stomach is removed in the filleting process, so if there is any red tide in the fish, filleting your meal is a way to make sure you’re not affected by residual red tide.

And if you’re not planning to eat what you catch, then you definitely have the green light to go fishing in our rental area. Red tide only bothers humans in very high quantities, and our waters are now virtually red-tide-free! That means that even those with respiratory issues should be able to go fishing without a problem.

Fishing Around Tierra Verde

Our fleet has several fishing vessels to choose from—come check them out! Or if you have questions for our helpful and knowledgeable dockhands, give us a call at (727) 867-0077. With red tide out of the area, fishing is a go, so come rent your fishing boat before they’re all booked up!