ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hosted an environmental roundtable discussion on Thursday, focusing on the state's efforts to combat potentially dangerous red tide.
The governor met with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Eric Sutton, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Interim Secretary Shawn Hamilton, and other environmental leaders 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.
DeSantis on Thursday 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.
"I think we have some of the best in the business who are looking at these issues and researching the issues," DeSantis said. "Obviously, we've put our money where our mouth is by devoting a lot of resources to be able to do all we can to mitigate any effects."
WATCH ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION:
Sutton said red tide blooms are often localized to a particular coastal area and not widespread.
FWC has an interactive map that's updated daily which shows the location of all red tide blooms currently in Florida. As of Thursday, 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.
"There should be no reason anyone can't find out, is there red tide? Where is it? And how can I plan around it?" Sutton said.
Dr. Kate Hubbard, a research scientist with FWC, said red tide blooms on the east coast are rare. But when they do occur, they typically show up in the coastal areas around West Palm Beach first.
"That's because of the bathymetry and how those currents carry the cells around the southern tip," Hubbard said.
For more information about red tide and its potential health effects, click here.