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Scientists Developing New Ways to Fight ‘Red Tide’

A leading scientist says researchers in Florida are close to developing a way to control the algae known to cause deadly “red tide.” Michael Crosby heads the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, a leading research organization.

A 10-month-old red tide has been killing ocean life along Florida’s southwestern coast. Huge numbers of dead fish have washed up on beaches from the city of Naples up to Tampa. Red tide can cause problems for humans too. Contact with the algae can cause breathing difficulties, burning eyes and skin pain.

On Monday, Governor Rick Scott ordered emergency measures to deal with the crisis. Crosby said he welcomed the move, which releases more money and resources to solve the problem.

Scientists field-testing solutions

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission suspects the red tide caused the deaths and strandings of hundreds of sea turtles this year. The agency also blames it for at least some of the 68 deaths of manatees. Other sea mammals killed include porpoises.