Dozens of scientists, researchers and others are meeting in Sarasota this week. They’re discussing ongoing problems with red tide and what can be done to try to curb the outbreaks. The meeting couldn’t come at a better time because the main algae that causes red tide is blooming right now in the waters of Lee and Collier Counties, killing thousands of fish and polluting the air with noxious fumes. Red tide is naturally-occurring and has bloomed in the Gulf of Mexico for at least 150 years. But scientists are meeting at Mote Marine Laboratory to try to find consensus and new strategies. Cindy Heil of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is one of the organizers.
“We’re asking them to get together and try to identify what the research goals should be with regards to red tide over the next five to ten years. What direction should it take? What should be our focus? What are the burning questions basically with regards to Florida red tide?”
Heil made the comments on Gulf Coast Live. She admitted last year’s red tide outbreaks, though not the worst on record, are part of the reason for the four-day seminar.
Red tide outbreaks are lingering off the Lee and Collier County coasts this week. The toxic-algae blooms have already killed thousands of fish and sickened a handful of residents. Dozens of scientists and others happen to be meeting in Sarasota at Mote Marine Laboratory this week for a four-day seminar on red tide. Mote Environmental Health Program manager Barb Kirkpatrick says the group is meeting to start a conversation among the experts to try to find some solutions:
“To get the biologists and the chemists and the physical oceanographers, the public health folks – all in the same room talking about okay, ‘this is where we’re at. And these are the tools or the things we need to drive our research forward to get more answers.’ And to really talk as a community.”
Kirkpatrick spoke on W-G-C-U’s Gulf Coast Live. For the first time, they’ve asked the public for help. More than 500 people from around Florida have already filled-out online red tide surveys. She says the biggest request is to continue funding for red tide research.
Tuesday, 18 July 2006 01:00