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Massive Algae Bloom On Florida’s Treasure Coast

Francis YupangcoBy Francis Yupangco 3 years ago
Home  /  Fish  /  Massive Algae Bloom On Florida’s Treasure Coast

062816-TC-algae-14This story hits very close to home. My wife is from Hutchinson Island, on the Treasure Coast, and we spend a lot of time there at the area’s beaches. Just yesterday, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency for St. Lucie and Martin County. The Governor issued Executive Order 16-155, which will allow both state and local governmental agencies to take the necessary action to mitigate the spread of algal blooms in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries by redirecting the flow of water in and out of Lake Okeechobee. The Governor also asked the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to take action to fight the bloom. Area beaches are closed. And while things are bad now, it is anticipated that they will only get much worse. The algae is currently making oxygen, but also blocking sunlight, and therefore killing algae and sea grass. Once the algae and grass dies off, that food source is lost to the areas fish and animals. The animals who are eating this algae, are absorbing microcsystin, a toxin. Animals that are able to come to the surface for air, like dolphins and manatees, become coated in the algae, which can affect their skin and respitory systems. People are being advised to stay out of the water as well, as it is believed the algae can cause skin rashes and possible respitory problems.

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Francis Yupangco
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 Francis Yupangco

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Francis is a marine biologist with an MBA and over 20 years of professional aquarium experience. Francis is the former Aquatic Development Manager at Hagen USA., makers of Fluval brand aquarium products. He co-stars on Nat Geo WILD's reality TV series Fish Tank Kings where he is the resident "Fish Geek" and was Director of Marketing at Living Color Aquariums. He is an avid explorer having visited over 45 countries and lived in 7. At 17, he was among the youngest aquarists ever hired by the Vancouver Aquarium, where he worked for 7 years. His aquatic biology experience ranges from larval fish rearing to the design, construction and operational management of renowned public aquariums around the world. Francis is currently head of marketing at the world's largest vertically integrated fish farming company.

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