U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, announced Thursday that legislation passed the U.S. House could equip the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with $8 million to fight red tide.
The Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018, if passed by the U.S. Senate and signed by President Donald Trump, could help researchers understand more about harmful algal blooms like those caused by the Karenia brevis algae, also known as red tide.
“Southwest Florida is a beautiful, vibrant place to live and we need to address any threat to our pristine environment and way of life,” Buchanan said in a press release. “We need to understand more about the toxins in red tide so we can stop their damaging effects.”
According to Buchanan, $82 million is lost to various industries when red tide blooms come by, usually starting in late summer or early fall. The culmination of the algae cuts off the oxygen supply in surrounding water, killing fish and making other wildlife and humans sick.
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“Specifically, these additional resources will significantly bolster the scientific community’s research to detect, respond to and develop innovative technologies to lessen the impacts from some of the country’s most challenging harmful algal blooms — red tide — on our environment, marine life and human health,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, Mote Marine Laboratory’s president and CEO, in a press release.
Crosby also said that Mote hopes to one day create a harmful algal bloom center to hone in on the specific research.
“We appreciate Congressman Buchanan’s relentless attention to this important issue for our region, and applaud the bipartisan support for science that is vital for our marine environment, economy and quality of life in coastal communities,” Crosby said.