FORT MYERS, Fla. — Local scientists think they have a way to reduce red-tide by re-using dead fish.
The state funded a red tide mitigation program between Florida Gulf Coast University and Mote Marine lab that would help get rid of rotting fish from algae blooms and turn them into something more productive.
“So the project uses the fish that died from red tide blooms and to create an organic and carbon neutral fertilizer,” said Adam Catasus the research and education coordinator FGCU.
“Hopefully the fertilizer would then be used for agriculture and lawn care,” he said.
They are using a bacteria to help the dead fish decompose completely before they are turned into fertilizer. The experiment will test if this process completely removes the toxins in the fish, before the product can be used. As they are removing dead fish from the waters, the also scientists hope it reduces toxins that contribute to red tide.
“This project, even though it smells really bad, and it can be frustrating to work with, it can also improve our ability to move forward,” he said.
They’ve been conducting this experiment in with small samples, but this is the first attempt to do large scale composting. FGCU is working with Tampa bay scientists near the most recent algae blooms to test those waters and determine if removing the fish improves the problem.