(1)(a) The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute shall implement a program designed to increase the knowledge of factors that control harmful algal blooms, including red tide, and to gain knowledge to be used for the early detection of factors precipitating harmful algal blooms for accurate prediction of the extent and seriousness of harmful algal blooms and for undertaking successful efforts to control and mitigate the effects of harmful algal blooms.
(b) The Legislature intends that this program enhance and address areas that are not adequately covered in the cooperative federal-state program known as Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB-Florida), which includes the University of South Florida, the Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
(c) The goal of this program is to enable resource managers to assess the potential for public health damage and economic damage from a given bloom and to undertake control and mitigation efforts through the development and application of an integrated detection and prediction network for monitoring and responding to the development and movement of harmful algal blooms in Florida marine and estuarine waters.
(2) A financial disbursement program is created within the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute to implement the provisions of this act. Under the program, the institute shall provide funding and technical assistance to government agencies, research universities, coastal local governments, and organizations with scientific and technical expertise for the purposes of harmful-algal-bloom research, economic impact study, monitoring, detection, control, and mitigation. The program may be funded from state, federal, and private contributions.