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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis focuses on combating red tide

Tampa Bay dealing with outbreak of harmful algal blooms, causing massive fish kills
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds an environmental news conference in St. Petersburg on July 21, 2021.jpg
Posted at 10:16 AM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 12:18:19-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida's governor says state officials are committed to combating toxic red tide in the Tampa Bay area, which has led to massive fish kills.

Speaking at FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state is working with local communities in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties in an "all hands on deck" approach.

"We are committed to being in this fight," DeSantis said.

WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes environmental announcement in St. Petersburg

Red tide is a harmful algal bloom that primarily occurs on the Gulf Coast of Florida and leads to fish kills, as well as breathing and other health problems for people near the coast.

Scientists said it's rare to see red tide blooms on the east coast of the Sunshine State.

DeSantis toured Tampa Bay on Wednesday to survey the impacts of the outbreak.

"The bay looks a lot better than it did last week, and I think a lot of the reason for that was that everyone was on board to mitigate," DeSantis said. "I'm glad I was able to see progress."

Those mitigation efforts include increased monitoring and sampling, including the use of a FWC sampling robot which is collecting "unprecedented" information about how many red tide cells there are in a particular bloom.

"The robot collects samples every 20 minutes and processed over 500 samples in the last week," DeSantis said.

FWC is also using a fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter to get an aerial view of red tide blooms and identify areas in need of cleanup

"Up and down the coast, you do see other blooms. So there's gonna be a need to do other mitigation," DeSantis said.

The governor on Wednesday highlighted his administration's efforts to research, track, and mitigate red tide blooms throughout the Sunshine State.

Those efforts included the creation of the Center For Red Tide Research in 2019, as well as the reorganization of the state's Red Tide Task Force.

FWC has an interactive map that's updated daily which shows the location of all red tide blooms currently in Florida. As of Wednesday, there are no red tide blooms on the east coast of Florida, including Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

You can see that interactive map by clicking here.

For more information about red tide and its potential health effects, click here.