SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis made a stop in Sarasota on Tuesday and helped Mote Marine celebrate the opening of a new red tide research facility.
The governor, joined by Department of Environmental Protection Interim Secretary Shawn Hamilton and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Eric Sutton, attended the ribbon cutting for Mote Marine Laboratory’s Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Facility. The facility is described as “cutting-edge” and “experimental.”
“The new Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Facility at Mote Marine Lab will provide scientists the ability to research red tide, and hopefully lead to new technologies that prevent and mitigate harmful blooms,” Gov. DeSantis said.
According to the governor, the facility was created through a state partnership between the FWC, DEP and Mote Marine.
“Science, innovation and partnership are all critical components of our efforts to combat harmful algal blooms,” DEP Interim Secretary Hamilton said. “Making water quality in this state one of his top priorities, the governor has secured the resources to ensure science remains at the forefront of environmental policy and management. DEP looks forward to continued collaboration between state and local partners, as well as research institutes like Mote.”
The executive director of the FWC called the concept of mitigating red tide effects a “complicated ecological issue” but said the partnership will allow scientific experts to collaborate on potential solutions.
“The State of Florida has again demonstrated today that it is a national leader in the utilization of science and engineering to decrease the negative impacts of harmful algal blooms on our environment, economy and quality of life,” Mote Marine President and CEO Dr. Michael P. Crosby said. “The best and brightest minds in research and technology development are now able to utilize this incredible facility because Governor DeSantis and our state legislature fully embraced a vision for pushing the frontiers of science forward to benefit society. Mote is honored and proud to be leading this initiative in collaboration with FWC, along with over 20 partnering institutions from around the world.”
Gov. DeSantis visited St. Petersburg last month to address the red tide and pushed back against criticism of his handling of the situation. In response to calls for a red tide state of emergency, the governor said during that news conference that a state of emergency wouldn’t do anything that the state wasn’t already doing and argued that it would hurt businesses.
“It would send the message that somehow all of Florida has problems when, in fact, the economy is open here, people should be coming,” he said. “This place is open, they’re doing well.”