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This year’s red tide outbreak slowly spread into Manatee County waters by August and fish died by the thousands, washing up on Anna Maria Island beaches and clogging canals.

So what does 2019 and beyond look like for beaches? The short answer is nobody knows for sure and scientists are still struggling to find out.

Some hope arose when scientists had developed a patented Ozonation system that protects the water entering into the aquarium and marine mammal and sea turtle hospital. The system safely removes the toxins from the water and it was recently successfully tested in a dead-end canal in Boca Grande.

Technology is helpful for informing, but it’s the science that will determine the future battle against Karenia brevis, the organism responsible for red tide.

However, chemistry and biochemistry professor, Kathleen Rein, thinks that’s not the only option. “I would say that all of us have to take responsibility for our environment and become better stewards of our planet in general and we have to somehow find the resolve and the determination to step up and do this,” Rein said.

So as we roll into the new year, businesses, tourists and residents are left with uncertainty for the future of this natural disaster and how it could continue to affect lives.

Read the full article on the future of red tide on Bradenton Herald.