State Says It Is Ready To Address Red Tide In Atlantic

Oct 3, 2018

Florida has money and resources ready as red tide that has lingered along the Gulf Coast has been detected in Palm Beach County’s coastal waters, Gov. Rick Scott’s office said Tuesday. 

The announcement came after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found the toxic bacteria present in low-to-medium amounts in the Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County.

“While red tide is nothing new to Florida, we won’t spare any resources to combat the current impacts and make sure that all of our communities quickly recover,” Scott said in a statement.

The red-tide bloom is believed to have traveled in the natural currents from the Gulf. Red tide and algae blooms, which have impacted both coasts, have become a growing issue in this year’s elections.

Since Scott issued an emergency order in August for red-tide impacts in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, state agencies have allocated more than $14 million to various projects, such as assisting small businesses, cleaning up dead fish, helping redfish restocking efforts and boosting tourism marketing.

The outbreak, which started last November, is believed to have caused the deaths of thousands of fish, manatees, sea turtles and bottlenose dolphins.

The red tide problem is the longest since 2006, when an outbreak lasted about 17 months. The source of the outbreak is the suspected bloom cycle of a single-celled organism called Karenia brevis algae that produces toxins that kill fish, birds, sea turtles, manatees and dolphins and can cause neurotoxic shellfish poisoning in human.

The outbreaks occur in salt water and are separate from the inshore toxic blue-green algae that has plagued areas from Stuart to Cape Coral and has been tied to the release of polluted waters from Lake Okeechobee.