Florida Declares Emergency As Red Tide Blooms


The emergency was declared for Hillsborough, Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee and Pinellas counties.

Executive order 18-221 will allocate $1.5 million in funds to state agencies, including $100,000 to Mote Marine Laboratory to assist local scientists in saving distressed animals, $500,000 to the stats's public/private marketing arm Visit Florida to combat the awful images of dead fish, and $900,000 to Lee County to actually clean up the dead fish.

Scientists statewide and with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration are trying to understand the lengthy lifespan of this year's bloom, which began in October 2017.

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Rick Scott issued an executive order Monday declaring a state of emergency for seven counties dealing with an unusually lengthy red tide algae bloom that has killed thousands of marine animals, his office said.

In this Monday Aug. 6, 2018 photo, a dead Snook is shown along the water's edge in Bradenton Beach, Fla. Part of the reason why the red tide is so prominent this season is because there are some leftover blooms from past year, Bob Weisberg, a professor of physical oceanography at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science, told ABC News. The red tide has made breathing hard for locals, scared away tourists, and strewn popular beaches with the stinking carcasses of fish, eels, porpoises, turtles, manatees and one 26-foot whale shark.

From Naples in Southwest Florida, about 135 miles north, beach communities along the Gulf coast have been plagued with red tide.

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"I am also directing a further $900,000 in grants for Lee County to clean up impacts related to red tide -- bringing total red tide grant funding for Lee County to more than $1.3 million", Scott said.

Gretchen Lovewell, Mote Marine Lab's program manager for the team that investigates dead and stranded animals (C) and stranding technician, Jessica Blackburn take a break from a necropsies of a Loggerhead (L) and Kemp's Ridley turtle in Sarasota, Florida, August 7, 2018. Other sea life, such as pelicans, manatees and a whale shark, have washed ashore since this unprecedented bloom started. In places like Longboat Key, more than 5 tons of dead fish have been removed from beaches. Their findings could help to inform potential management actions.

The marketing campaign would be aimed at helping those communities rebuild their tourism after the bloom is over, not while it's still going on, Lewis said. "We are actively working with local authorities in the most impacted areas and stand ready to provide assistance to local communities".

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