SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - After the last red tide outbreak that hurt Florida’s economy, Governor Ron DeSantis announced Friday the reforming of the Red Tide Task Force to work to prevent another outbreak.
Gov. DeSantis was in Englewood Friday morning where he was joined by members of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to talk about the task force, which has been inactive for more than 15 years due to a lack of funding. But now the task force will be reformed, bringing together 11 expert researchers and leading scientists who will work to prevent another outbreak.
"The Red Tide Task Force will focus on the causes of red tide and will be supported by FWC's Center for Red Tide Research, which received $4.8 million in the budget," said Gov. DeSantis. "My administration will continue to press forward to find solutions and empower our brightest minds to help protect our environment. The issues of red tide are complex, but with the appointments of these leading scientists and researchers, we hope to make a difference."
Though red tide has been documented along the Suncoast since the 1840s, Florida just went through one of the most severe outbreaks on record stretching from November 2017 through February 2019. It was the fifth longest outbreak since 1953, and the first since 2007 to impact Florida's southwest, northwest, and east coasts simultaneously.
The Red Tide Task Force will complement the Blue Green Algae Task Force and the Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative, which is the partnership between the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute within FWC and Mote Marine Laboratory.