At the direction of Governor Scott, and in response to this year’s red tide, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has enhanced red tide monitoring efforts in Southwest Florida.
Red tide blooms occur naturally and develop 10-40 miles off the coast. To gather meaningful data, scientists must perform aerial surveys off the coast where the blooms develop. Recently, FWC scientists conducted aerial surveys 800-1,000 feet above the water approximately 10 miles off the coast of Sarasota County to Pasco County. During the surveys, researchers documented red tide blooms and specifically noted location, size and intensity. The data from these surveys helps scientists predict future events and provide guidance on actions that will have the most impact. FWC scientists also documented schools of redfish in the Gulf of Mexico to determine the impact the red tide bloom has had on the population.
At Governor Scott’s direction, FWC has mobilized all available resources to mitigate naturally-occurring red tide. Earlier this week, Governor Scott called in to the FWC Commission meeting following the letter he sent last week urging the Commission to take the following action on red tide:
- Create the Florida Center for Red Tide Research, a new resource for local communities impacted by red tide;
- Re-establish the Florida Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force; and
- Request an increase of funding for red tide research during the upcoming 2019 Florida Legislative Session.
In August, Governor Scott issued Executive Order 18-221 declaring a state of emergency due to impacts of red tide. Red tide is naturally-occurring algae that has been documented along Florida’s Gulf Coast since the 1840’s and occurs nearly every year. For more information on red tide in Florida, click HERE.