Gulf of Mexico
Kelly Hayes / Florida Politics

FL - Nikki Fried calls on Ron DeSantis to do more for Tampa Bay red tide crisis

In the past 10 days, about 15 tons of dead fish have been removed from waterways.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue an executive order in response to the severe red tide outbreak plaguing the Tampa Bay area.

In a letter to DeSantis Monday, Fried says the current red tide outbreak is considered worse than the massive 2018 outbreak on the state’s coast.

“The current red tide crisis has been considered worse than the 2018 red tide — and perhaps one of the state’s worst ever — with experts noting both the unusually early timing and unlikelihood of swift resolution,” Fried wrote. “With this serious biological threat ongoing in our state’s waters, I am calling on you to issue an executive order directing state resources to help mitigate this environmental and human health emergency.”

The 2018 outbreak led to then-Gov. Rick Scott declaring a state of emergency for seven counties impacted by the algae bloom. The executive order provided state funding and made available state biologists and scientists for cleanup and animal rescue efforts, among other resources.

“With Florida’s waters so interconnected, it should not fall solely to municipal officials with limited budgets and personnel to address this regional situation — state agencies including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection should coordinate the response,” Fried wrote.

Just recently, the city of St. Petersburg reported removing six tons of dead fish from the shorelines in a cleanup effort as red tide ravages areas of the downtown shoreline and Pinellas County coast. The most recent status update provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission showed that Pinellas County and the bay area had the highest concentrations of the algae that causes red tide in the state, with high levels around St. Pete’s coastal area.

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