Water-Related News

Florida scientists are mapping red tide fish kills to help regulate fishing afterward

Satellite images of red tide blooms in the Gulf of Mexico and modeling from within the water column will then be combined with a foodweb model to estimate mortality rates of different fish species.

Florida researchers are working to map fish kills after red tide events to help regulators determine harvesting limitations. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded the five-year project with about $1.7 million.

Toxic red tide algae blooms can result in large fish kills.

David Chagaris, a research associate professor at the University of Florida's Nature Coast Biological Station, said the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council often doesn't have enough information about the events to create safe catch levels in the following years for species like grouper and snapper.

“If there's a red tide that's occurring, they oftentimes don't have enough information to say, ‘Well, the effects are going to be severe or not so severe,' " Chagaris said. "And so, they don't have that information to then say what would be the safe catch levels in the following years.

“So, this project … it aims to create this modeling framework that can provide that information on a timely manner for managers when setting catch limits.”