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Florida bill seeks red tide research money

Posted at 5:03 PM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-09 17:03:49-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A bill aimed at controlling and alleviating red tide blooms is moving through the Florida Legislature.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would provide $3 million a year for the next six years to research red tide.

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The research would be a partnership between the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Mote Marine Laboratory.

Florida recently experienced one of its largest red tide blooms in its recorded history. The 15-month bloom caused respiratory irritations in people and killed sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and fish.

While the algae that causes red tide occurs naturally, bill sponsor Republican Sen. Joe Gruters said human activity is making blooms worse. He said the state has traditionally spent money on red tide research during a bloom, but the money dries up when the bloom ends.