The Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force has finalized its initial recommendations on how to combat red tide and its harmful effects on the local economy.
The HAB Task Force — an advisory body established in 1999 and administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission — was reactivated in 2019 at the direction of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The goal was to prioritize actions and make recommendations to reduce impacts of harmful algal blooms in Florida waters.
Red tide has plagued Florida waters more than usual over the past two years, wreaking havoc on tourism and industries like fishing and boating.
As a result, leading scientists and researchers that make up the HAB Task Force undertook a comprehensive review of key issues associated with red tide, said task force chair Dr. Leanne Flewelling.
"We believe this initial consensus document will help lay the groundwork for improving our knowledge and response to red tide, and we look forward to expanding our focus to additional HAB species as we move forward,” said Flewelling in a statement.
The task force has held several public meetings that included a comprehensive review and assessment of current policies, management responses and scientific knowledge to identify information gaps and priority needs related to red tide.
The task force broke down recommended actions into four key areas:
- Public health — improving the knowledge of the effects of red tide on human health.
- Communications — improving communication and education about red tide.
- Management and response — developing a comprehensive and integrated response plan.
- Research — enhancing research and innovation that will yield beneficial management tools.
Read more about the task force recommendations here.