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Red Tide

dead fish on a beach
Mote Marine Laboratory

Scientists say a red tide bloom is making its way into southwest Florida bays and killing sea turtles.

With a curved carapace, angry-looking eyes and a spiky tail, horseshoe crabs look like nature’s armored tanks, crawling in the sand at the shore.

Conor Goulding / Mote Marine Laboratory

Scientists say toxic red tide is back in the waters off the Florida southwest coast after fading away earlier this year following a 15-month bloom.

A state task force to help determine strategies for researching and mitigating harmful algae blooms met Thursday in St. Petersburg. It’s the first time the group has met since Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the initiative in November.

Stone Crab
Flickr/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commision

There is one more victim of the red tide outbreak that plagued Florida’s Gulf Coast last year. This season’s stone crab harvest is among the state's lowest, according to seafood industry experts.

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Englewood to announce the members of the Red Tide Task Force
Florida Governor's Office

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced the appointments of 11 researchers to a reinvigorated task force looking into combating red tide. The most recent red tide outbreak was the longest one in memory.

Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Congress recently approved $6.25 million to study how red tide algae blooms affect people's health. Multiple facilities in Sarasota will work together on the research.


While red tide algal blooms have occurred off the coast of western Florida since before the state was heavily developed – the earliest accounts of its presence date back to the 1880s, and J.N. Ding Darling himself wrote about a massive red tide bloom in the 1940s – current residents of this part of the state are unfortunately well-aware of just how harmful a red tide bloom can be.

Scores of dolphins have died along Florida's southwest coast due to the red tide bloom in the past year, federal researchers said.
Mote Marine Laboratory

Associated Press

 Scores of dolphins have died along Florida's southwest coast due to the red tide bloom in the past year, federal researchers said.

The red tide on Florida's Gulf Coast last year killed dolphins, manatees and fish. A new study finds the toxic algae also affects stone crab, one of Florida's most valuable seafood products.

Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez
Alejandra Martinez / WLRN

State lawmakers passed several bills in the wake of last year's scourge of red tide attacking the coastlines and blue-green algae coming out of Lake Okeechobee. But some environmentalists say they didn't address the source of the problem - nutrients flowing into waterways.

In the fall of last year, USF researchers sent a glider to what’s called “the epicenter” of red tide—the Gulf of Mexico’s continental shelf. The device helped to measure water movements to determine how red tide blooms were distributed throughout Florida.
USF College of Marine Science

A new study shows that ocean circulation was a major cause of the toxic red tide bloom, which plagued Florida's West Coast for over a year. It expanded up to the Florida Panhandle and circled down around to the East Coast.

Senate Moves Forward With Red Tide Research

Apr 10, 2019

A Senate panel moved forward Tuesday with a proposal that would direct $3 million a year to a red-tide research initiative between the state and Sarasota-based Mote Marine Laboratory, despite arguments that the proposal fails to fully address human involvement in the spread of the toxic algae. 

Florida Gulf Coast University announced its first partnership for its new Water School on Thursday. 

Conor Goulding / Mote Marine Laboratory

The battle against red tide may soon get a boost. A proposal to give $3 million a year for five years to study red tide got a unanimous thumbs-up when the Tampa Bay Area legislative delegation met Tuesday in Sarasota.

Florida's coastal waters appear free from a devastating red tide bloom that began in October 2017.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report released Wednesday says the toxic algae were no longer present in water samples collected anywhere in the state. 

Nicole Slaughter Graham / WUSF Public Media

At this year’s Florida State Fair, the agriculture scene is on full display. As you might expect, cows, goats and pigs are available for fairgoers to feed and pet. But this year’s agricultural exhibits also include another of the state’s prosperous, but lesser-known commodities: aquaculture.

For well over a year, visitors to Florida's beautiful Gulf Coast beaches have found dead fish lining the shoreline. A red tide algae bloom afflicted coastal communities from Florida's Panhandle to its southern tip. But in the past few weeks, monitoring conducted by marine scientists shows that the red tide bloom is finally disappearing.

Red tide blooms occur when a microscopic alga, Karenia brevis, proliferates in a higher than normal concentration. When concentrations are high enough, toxic chemicals released by the algae can affect marine life and people.

Florida Gulf Coast University researchers began the process this week to pursue funding for an initiative focusing on red tide research.

Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Patchy toxic blooms have been hanging around the Gulf of Mexico for more than a year now, killing fish and other marine life.

State wildlife officials said this has been the busiest red tide event in recent memory.

Next Steps Eyed In Fight Against Water Woes

Jan 24, 2019

Local governments have spent $17.3 million the state provided to combat outbreaks of red tide and toxic blue-green algae, which have caused massive fish kills and fouled waters in coastal areas for more than a year.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

The Florida Aquarium cut the ribbon Wednesday on a sea turtle rehabilitation center in Apollo Beach. It will  expand efforts to save endangered turtles - and increase public awareness of them.

FWC website

The latest red tide report shows high concentrations of the toxic algae blooms in Sarasota and Collier counties. This nearly 16-month red tide event has killed more sea turtles than ever recorded.

Respiratory irritation related to red tide was also reported over the past week in Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Seabird specialists say that toxic red tide blooms in the Gulf of Mexico affect every species differently. Some shore birds are affected later than others.

JESSICA MESZAROS / WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

A Red Tide bill backed by Florida lawmakers was passed by the United States Congress and is now headed to President Donald Trump's desk to be signed into law.

After months of widespread red tide infestation along Florida's coast, the noxious algae bloom is giving much of the state a break.

Stephen Splane / WUSF Public Media

Red tide seems to be retreating in the Tampa Bay area with the onset of a cold front. But further south, dolphins continue to die at an alarming pace.

There have been 39 dolphin strandings since November 21st. Two were reported this week. Most have happened in Lee and Collier counties in southwest Florida.

Officials in Florida say dolphins seem to be red tide's latest victims as more than 20 have washed up dead since last week along the state's southwest coast.

Stephen Splane / WUSF Public Media

While the fish kills have stopped washing up on Pinellas County beaches, red tide is still an ongoing problem in the area. The Board of Commissioners voted recently on an agreement with the state that would give the county an additional three million dollars for red tide cleanup.

Conor Goulding / Mote Marine Laboratory

The Alabama Department of Health says that red tide has been found in water samples taken near Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.

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