'Devastating' red tide massacring Florida dolphins

BREAKING: State of emergency declared over Florida's red tide

BREAKING: State of emergency declared over Florida's red tide

"While we fight to learn more about this naturally-occurring phenomenon, we will continue to deploy all state resources and do everything possible to make sure that Gulf Coast residents are safe and area businesses can recover".

Gov. Rick Scott is declaring a state of emergency across parts of Florida that have been overrun by a toxic algae bloom that is killing fish and emptying beaches and restaurants.

"I am issuing an emergency declaration to provide significant funding and resources to the communities experiencing red tide so we can combat its awful impacts", said Governor Rick Scott in a statement on Monday.

Collier, Lee, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas were the other counties included in Scott's order.

This additional funding includes "more than $100,000 for Mote Marine Laboratory and $500,000 for VISIT FLORIDA to establish an emergency grant program to help local communities continue to bring in the visitors that support so many Florida families and businesses", Scott said. But this year, Scott says the bloom has been devastating.

In a statement, Scott said he wants to continue to combat the issue of red tide with great enthusiasm.

Since 2017, higher than normal concentrations of the algae blooms have plagued southwest Florida.

Wildlife of all types, from fish to crabs and manatees, dolphins and turtles, have been sickened or killed by the toxic algae.

"It's not an easy thing to explain, and it's not a cut-and-dry answer", Michelle Kerr, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told the News-Press. "HABs are a national concern because they affect not only the health of people and marine ecosystems, but also the "health" of local and regional economies".

"People should not swim in the water, eat seafood from it or breath the air near it", University of Miami marine biology and ecology professor Larry Brand said this month.

Researchers are watching oceanographic conditions in the region carefully and using forecasting tools not unlike seasonal weather forecasts to predict how long this bloom will last.

Experiments carried out in huge 25,000-gallon tanks succeeded in removing all traces of the algae and its toxins, with the water chemistry reverting to normal within 24 hours, he said. "It's very dependent on the strength and direction of winds and currents, and red tide can also feed off nutrients and runoff from land".

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