The Florida Red Tide Mitigation & Technology Development Initiative is a partnership between Mote Marine Laboratory (Mote) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) that establishes an independent and coordinated effort among public and private research entities to develop prevention, control and mitigation technologies and approaches that will decrease the impacts of Florida red tide on the environment, economy and quality of life in Florida.

Florida red tides are harmful algal blooms caused by higher-than-normal concentrations of Karenia brevis (microscopic algae native to the Gulf of Mexico). Florida red tides produce toxins that can cause widespread mortality of marine fishes and other wildlife, and those toxins can enter the air and cause respiratory irritation in people on shore. Florida red tides can significantly affect quality of life in coastal communities and drain millions of dollars from economies that rely upon ecotourism, fishing and other ecosystem services.

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Empowering world-class scientists to fight Florida red tide impacts

Floridians have rightfully demanded solutions to address red tide, and in June 2019, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill No. 1552 to establish and support the Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative as partnership between Mote—a 64-year leader of independent, entrepreneurial and nonprofit marine research with decades of red tide science—and FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, the primary state-government entity focused on Florida red tide. The bill provides a $3-million appropriation from the General Revenue Fund each year for six years ($18-million total), and FWC will award funds to Mote to achieve the goals of the Initiative. 

Building upon the ongoing and highly productive FWC-Mote cooperative red tide research and monitoring program, this new applied science Initiative strategically leverages state appropriations with Mote’s private and federal funding in order to:

  • Bring together the best and brightest scientists from Florida and around the world; 
  • Utilize innovative approaches and technologies to determine the most effective and ecologically sound methods for mitigating adverse impacts from red tide; 
  • Test technologies with combinations of lab-based, large-scale mesocosm and pilot-scale field studies ultimately leading to permitting for large-scale field testing and application; 
  • Develop novel detection systems to support public red tide forecasting, emergency response, and implementation of control strategies; 
  • Enhance public health protection with expansion of the Beach Conditions Reporting System (visitbeaches.org), local community outreach and engagement; and 
  • Develop new technologies for smartphone apps to engage citizen science information collaborations and commercial fisherman reporting of red tide toxin concentrations.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs Senate Bill No. 1552 to establish and support the Florida Red Tide Mitigation & Technology Development Initiative in June 2019 at Mote Marine Laboratory.

"Innovative technologies will play a vital role in our continued efforts to address water quality issues facing our state, and I’m confident this partnership between FWC and Mote will advance our knowledge in this area,” said Governor DeSantis. “I thank the Florida Legislature for their support in addressing these environmental challenges that increasingly threaten our fragile ecosystems and the way of life for so many Floridians.”

—Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, 2019

"Our economy, health and quality of life are tied to the well-being of our environment. The Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative will help our state develop technologies and approaches needed to address the control and mitigation of red tide and its impacts. I appreciate Governor DeSantis’ support for this important legislation and for his ongoing advocacy for innovative, science-based solutions that will help Florida address ongoing environmental concerns that impact communities across our state."

—Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, 2019

"This new strategic investment by the State of Florida for the Florida Red Tide Mitigation & Technology Development Initiative will be a game-changer, enabling us to utilize a new level of applied science and innovation not only to fight Florida red tide, but also to stimulate Florida’s economy through technology transfer that helps transform ecological challenge to economic opportunity."

—Mote Marine Laboratory President & CEO Dr. Michael P. Crosby, 2019

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