TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Drones could be used to monitor red tide, and money should be set aside to offset local costs of removing fish killed by toxic algae blooms, state wildlife officials said Wednesday as they look to manage future outbreaks.
Members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said more-proactive measures are needed because red tide outbreaks will continue to hinder the state, particularly the Gulf Coast, which is struggling with an outbreak in the Tampa Bay area.
Commission Chairman Rodney Barreto suggested asking a state red-tide task force to consider using drones to monitor waters for outbreaks and to help in cleanup efforts. He noted that sheriff’s office helicopters have been used to help coordinate cleanup of recent outbreaks.
“Let’s get on the offensive. Drone technology is where it’s at today,” Barreto said. “I mean, it’s amazing. Right? Much cheaper. Much more efficient than sending a helicopter up, for sure.”