Ron DeSantis Holds Emergency Meeting Over Red Tide

( The Gulf Coast of Florida is facing a red tide problem, so last week, Governor Ron DeSantis held a roundtable meeting to discuss ways the state can deal with this dangerous algae bloom encroaching on its coast.

Called “red tide” due to the way it turns the water murky and red, this algae bloom is not only fatal to fish, it also causes serious health conditions for people living on or near affected beaches. Red tide is especially harmful to those with respiratory problems.

Naturally, it’s presence is also damaging to the sector central to Florida’s economy – namely tourism.

The Governor met with officials from the Red Tide Task Force in St. Petersburg on Thursday to discuss mitigation efforts as well as any future technology that could help combat the algae bloom along Florida’s coast.

The roundtable meeting came on the heels of Tampa Bay beaches reporting multiple cases of red tide earlier in the week.

Governor DeSantis established the creation of the Center for Red Tide Research in 2019. The center received a $4.8 million annual budget to detect, track and mitigate red tide events.

That same year, he signed a bill establishing the Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative whose purpose is to develop new approaches and technology to reduce the negative effects red tide has on both Florida’s economy and the health of Floridians and tourists.

Already the Initiative has over twenty projects currently underway.

The roundtable discussed the technological advances made to better communicate and notify Florida residents and businesses when red tide crops up so they can be aware of the dangers and plan accordingly. The technology includes an interactive map that allows people to view in almost real time where red tide is occurring.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation also provides weekly updates to local governments and tourism officials the interactive map and network of partners to ensure they have what information they need to protect the economy and public health.

The West Palm Beach coastline has often been a target for red tide given the water’s depth. Recorded incidents of red tide in the West Palm Beach area date back to the 1840s.