Sarasota Congressman Vern Buchanan’s bipartisan legislation adding $8 million to combat toxic algae blooms has been passed by Congress as part of a sweeping government funding bill.
Red tide has hit the Suncoast hard in recent weeks. Beachgoers on five local beaches have reported respiratory irritation and four beaches reported fish kills. Red tide has also contributed to 166 manatee deaths so far this year.
Harmful algae blooms cause $82 million in economic losses to the seafood, restaurant and tourism industries each year in the United States, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Buchanan's measure increases funding for NOAA by $8 million to research harmful algal blooms like red tide. His legislation was included in an appropriations bill that funds the federal government through September 2018. The funding bill is on its way to the President’s desk to be signed.