Ep. 4 Red Tide in Florida threatening beaches, fishing industry, and the aquarium trade.


There s trouble brewing (literally) in the seas and close to beaches in Southern Florida. The "Red Tide" as many people call it is a toxic algae bloom that causes fish  and other marine inhabitant deaths, toxic water conditions, threat to fishermen, and is creating havoc on the aquarium trade.

Within the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is the Division of Aquaculture, "Florida Aquaculture is an extraordinarily diverse farming sector across the species, production systems and geographic locations found in the state. There are an estimated 1,500 species or varieties of fish, plants, molluscs, crustaceans, and reptiles grown. Florida aquafarms culture products for food and non-food markets that include seafood (fish and shellfish), freshwater and marine aquarium hobbyists, high fashion leather, water gardening, bait, biological control, biofuels, or as "seed" for national and international aquaculturists".

This toxic algae bloom is wrecking havoc on these areas of aquafarming and is hampering the efforts of restoration of many coral reefs in the area. Scientists just can not enter the water when there is a full bloom in effect since even breathing the aerosols spray of the bloom can be toxic to humans. The specific strain of algae that is causing this "Red Tide" is Karenia brevis, and can be found yearly around the Floridian coasts but this bloom has been extremely large and devastating. Heyward Mathews, an emeritus professor of oceanography at St. Petersburg College who has studied the issue for decades, says "This red tide ... will likely cause considerable damage to our local fisheries and our tourist economy over the next few months".

There has been some debate whether or not the government or local scientist should step in and "treat" the bloom with algaecides, which more likely than not, cause more harm than good.