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Red Tide

in Destin

From time to time, Destin is affected by a natural phenomenon known as red tide. Red tide occurs when phytoplankton, tiny plant-like organisms, flourish in local waters. This phenomenon is called red tide because in extreme cases the water will take on a reddish-brown color. Large numbers of phytoplankton, known as blooms, can have ill effects on our marine environment, leading to the death of many marine animals, including fish and dolphins. 

The most common culprit for red tide in the Destin area is an organism known as G. breve. This organism does not usually cause harm to people, unless they eat shellfish infected with the G. breve toxin. During red tides, shellfish harvesting is closed in local waters to prevent such illness. Some people report respiratory irritation during red tides. People with sensitive skin may experience an itching sensation when swimming during red tide.

Red tides can make our usually beautiful, pristine environment very unpleasant. When fish kills occur, the fish carcasses will remain in the water for a week or two, resulting in a nasty odor. The Florida Marine Research Institute does regular sampling in our waters to determine if the red tide organism is present. Our red tide status can be found at the FMRI red tide web page. Click on the "Red Tide Current Status Information Page" link in the middle of the page.

Unfortunately, many people believe that red tides are getting more frequent and more severe over the years. A major contributing factor the the worsening of red tides in Choctawhatchee Bay is nutrient pollution. There are a variety of causes for nutrient pollution, including storm water runoff and agricultural runoff from plants and farms in Alabama. The Choctawhatchee Bay Watershed Partnership is conducting a study of the bay to determine the exact causes of the pollution and methods to correct and prevent it.

Current Red Tide Status Reports: 

Northwest Florida
October 19, 2007
Southwest Florida
October 19, 2007
East Coast
October 19, 2007

Red Tide Status LIne:  866 300-9399--toll free inside Florida only
727 552-2448--outside Florida



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A directory & guide to Destin, Florida and Scenic Beach Highway 30- A. ( also known as Beaches of South Walton and Santa Rosa Beach ) It includes information on restaurants, specialty dining, accommodations, beach vacation rentals, beach houses, hotels, RV parks, camping & attractions. Also “things to do in Destin” including entertainment, fishing, boating, water sports, parasailing, jet skis, sailing, snorkeling, canoe rentals, kayaks & paddle boards. There’s a section for Destin & 30A real estate and for travel information including airports & driving times along with Information about Destin's beaches, sea life and sun protection. Destin, Florida & Scenic Beach Highway 30-A are a “must see” for vacationers in Pensacola, Panama City Beach and Navarre. Come and enjoy the world famous Destin & 30A beaches!