NewsProtecting Paradise


How 'Blue Economy' could help South Florida's environment

South Florida lawmaker wants to protect economic health of state's waterways
Posted at 9:36 AM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-16 14:37:56-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Bubbling under the surface of Florida's coastline could be solutions to some of the state's biggest problems.

State Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton, wants to put a price on it.

"The Blue Economy is an effort to make sure that the water around us, [that] it's economic health is protected," Skidmore said.

From studies on a deepwater marine sponge at Florida Atlantic University to combat MRSA (an infection resistant to many antibiotics) to finding new sustainable food sources and using coral to balance the ecosystem, Blue Economy boils down to what many research groups and institutions like FAU Harbor Branch in Fort Pierce are already doing.

They're lending their space and expertise to outside companies that are trying to develop or fine-tune the next big thing. One example is underwater wind farms.

"Eventually we hope that there will be turbines offshore, with the Gulfstream turning them, bringing power back to our communities at large scale," Gabriel Alsenas, an expert in ocean energy at FAU Harbor Branch, said.

Skidmore said that by establishing an official office or entity in charge of showcasing Florida's blue water, we better leverage one of our best assets and can create more jobs and protect the water quality and marine life.

"It's just that no one is connecting the dots of all those (things)," Skidmore said. "Of all the power we have ... we're not commercializing and monetizing what we're doing best."