Fried vows renewed enforcement of clean water initiative in wake of red tide outbreak

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 11:42 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, speaking Monday in Sarasota, said her department’s Clean Water Initiative program would work to hold companies accountable for any violation of Florida’s clean water laws.

Fried held a news conference at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium after taking a boat tour around Sarasota Bay to view the effects of the recent red tide outbreak.

“It’s saddening to see so much loss of marine life,” Brody said, also noting that although red tide is natural, manmade byproducts can worsen the situation.

Fried told reporters that the Florida Department of Agriculture was working to enforce the Clean Water Initiative program. Violators could be reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and she urged to step up and “do their part.”

Monday, the Sarasota County government reported Monday that red tide conditions continue to exist at all 16 public beaches. Besides fish kills, red tide can cause respiratory irritation.

Last week, Fried, who has already announced her candidacy for governor in 2022, also said she would be holding daily updates on rising coronavirus numbers in the state, saying the surge should prompt the Florida Department of Health to resume its daily reports that were suspended in June. She urged the governor and Florida Department of Health to provide numbers.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance last week adding a recommendation for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. In Florida, 66 of 67 counties are listed as having high levels of community transmission; Glades County is listed as having a substantial level of community transmission. CDC also recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

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