State of Florida Signs MOU with South Korean Research Agency to Promote Information Sharing on Harmful Algal Blooms
The Floridant/10273139

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ~ TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In a move to strengthen international collaboration on harmful algal bloom management and response, Governor Ron DeSantis announced today that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with South Korea's National Institute of Environmental Research.

The MOU is a direct result of Governor DeSantis' trade mission to South Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Israel in April 2023. The mission aimed to expand economic opportunities and foster collaboration between Florida and its international partners.

"Expanding Florida's capabilities to respond to harmful algal blooms helps us protect our economy and keep our natural resources healthy," said Governor DeSantis. "Florida and South Korea have a strong economic partnership, particularly in the technology sector, and through this MOU, both partners will further ongoing research to combat harmful algal blooms like blue-green algae."

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Harmful algal blooms have significantly impacted Florida's coastal economy and water resources. Both Florida and South Korea are committed to developing cutting-edge strategies to prevent, detect, clean up, and mitigate these types of blooms. This shared work will enhance the state's ability to effectively respond to future harmful algal blooms that may impact the state.

"Florida's unique environmental challenges demand bold solutions, and international cooperation is a significant step in that direction," said DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton. "We remain steadfastly committed to protecting Florida, and I look forward to a productive partnership that will enhance that mission by collaborating with some of South Korea's finest scientific minds in our fight against harmful algal blooms."

The MOU establishes a framework for collaboration on various aspects related to harmful algal bloom reduction. This includes reducing nutrient loading into waterbodies, monitoring and modeling techniques, risk assessment methods, as well as innovative treatment technologies.

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President Hanseung Kum of the National Institute of Environmental Research in South Korea expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, "Through this partnership, we're not just sharing knowledge; we're forging a path to resilience against environmental challenges. The collaboration between South Korea and Florida highlights our deep commitment to deploying science and innovation in the battle against harmful algal blooms, ensuring healthier ecosystems for our communities."

Florida's Chief Science Officer Dr. Mark Rains also praised the partnership, saying, "I am particularly proud of this partnership, which signals our commitment to a wide range of science-based strategies toward keeping our waterbodies pristine. This agreement will not only benefit Floridians and Koreans but the greater scientific community."

This MOU is another step taken by Governor DeSantis to address the issue of recurring harmful algal blooms in Florida. Upon taking office, he created the Blue-Green Algae Task Force and has invested $65 million in innovative technologies to mitigate their effects.

To read the full MOU between Florida and South Korea's National Institute of Environmental Research, click here. With this collaboration in place, both partners are hopeful for a healthier future for their communities and ecosystems.

Filed Under: Government, State

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