Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force releases recommendations to fight red tide

FILE: Dead fish at Englewood Beach. (Credit: WINK News/FILE)
FILE: Dead fish at Englewood Beach. (Credit: WINK News/FILE)

The Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force pinpoints four areas on Thursday to take action against red tide and its harmful effects: public health, communications, management and response, and research.

These targeted areas of concentration in its initial recommendations have been identified after several public meetings. According to its press release, the task force wants to improve knowledge on the effects of red tide on human health; enhance communication and education about red tide; develop a comprehensive and integrated response plan; lastly, to improve research and innovation that will yield beneficial management tools.

The task force, established in 1999, was reactivated by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2019, with the top priority of focusing on issues associated with red tide. The reactivation comes after a severe outbreak between 2017 to 2019 where the Florida ecosystem was severely affected by red tide.

“We believe this initial consensus document will help lay the groundwork for improving our knowledge and response to red tide,” Dr. Leanne Flewelling, HAB Task Force Chair, said in the press release, “and we look forward to expanding our focus to additional HAB species as we move forward.”

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