Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force releases initial recommendations

The Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Task Force has announced it has finalized and approved its initial recommendations to address red tide and its harmful effects.

The HAB Task Force is an advisory body established in 1999 and administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). It was reactivated in 2019 at the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis to prioritize actions and make recommendations to reduce impacts of harmful algal blooms in Florida waters.

“In response to the severe 2017-2019 outbreak of red tide, and as directed by Governor DeSantis, the leading scientists and researchers that make up the HAB Task Force undertook a comprehensive review of key issues associated with red tide,” said FWC/HAB 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.”

The task force has held several public meetings where their discussions have 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.

Recommended actions have been identified in 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.