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Update: FWC responds to red tide in Southwest Florida

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The FWC is closely monitoring Southwest Florida, since Karenia brevis, also known as red tide, was detected in multiple samples in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties this week. Red tide is a naturally occurring microscopic alga that has been documented along Florida’s Gulf Coast since the 1840s and occurs nearly every year.

As part of the FWC Center for Red Tide Research, USF-College of Marine Science and Mote Marine Laboratory have each deployed a glider equipped with sensors to better understand conditions offshore. The information collected will help direct future sampling and forecasting efforts. Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, increased funding has been provided to enhance monitoring capabilities in offshore areas for signs of red tide in real-time.

In the FY 2022-23 budget, $4.8 million was invested for the Center for Red Tide Research at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). The center was created at the request of the Governor in 2019 to improve statewide red tide monitoring techniques and conduct research to better track, predict, and mitigate the effects of red tide on Florida communities. The Center for Red Tide Research brings together state and local governments, universities, private sector partners, and citizen scientists to enhance statewide red tide monitoring and conduct applied research on red tide.

The FY 2022-23 budget also includes a dedicated $5 million for the Department of Environmental Protection’s red tide emergency grant program which supports county governments in cleanup of biological debris to minimize the impacts of red tide.

The FWC recently created an animated video to help answer common red tide questions. This video is intended for residents and visitors and covers three main topics: what is red tide; is red tide dangerous to humans; and how do we track red tide. Available as a single video or as three shorter standalone videos focused on each topic, these easy-to-access resources can be readily shared to help provide important background leading up to and during red tide events.

For more information regarding red tide, visit: