Budget conference: Ocean remains between Senate, House funding for Mote Marine
Mote Marine Laboratory. Image via Mote.

Budget offers remain $5M apart for the Sarasota research institution.

Lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol want funding for Mote Marine Laboratory. But on funding levels, chambers remain an ocean apart.

The most recent offer from Senate Agriculture, Environment, and General Government Appropriations includes only $1 million for the Sarasota research institution. Meanwhile, negotiators with House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations have $6 million set aside for the institution.

Either way, it’s a small amount of what lawmakers want for the marine laboratory.

Rep. Fiona McFarland, a Sarasota Republican, filed a request for $10 million for a Big Data Analytics and Visualization Training program that Mote leaders want to operate in partnership with New College.

Meanwhile, Rep. James Buchanan, a Venice Republican, put in for another $10 million for aquaculture technology transfer, workforce training and education at Mote at the planned Mote Science Education Aquarium at Nathan Benderson Park.

Sen. Jim Boyd, a Bradenton Republican, backed up both of those requests in the Senate. Boyd said the institutions needs the money for a variety of purposes including “aquaculture, workforce training and STEM education.”

And Rep. James Mooney, a Key West Republican, also submitted a request for $2 million for a Mote-led coral recovery and restoration initiative. Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez put in a similar request in the upper chamber.

Lawmakers in the region say the Sarasota research facility deserves support from the state.

“The environmental and economic impact of red tide is huge and Mote Marine has already identified numerous ways to mitigate the outbreaks,” said Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican. “We need to continue to fund this important work so that we can be prepared for what’s to come.”

The House budget plans include $5 million for the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Department in nonrecurring government revenue. That’s where the Senate would like to plug $1 million for the institution into the state budget.

On top of that, the House wants another $1 million for Mote through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Free Willy

    February 29, 2024 at 11:30 am

    Shut it down, free Willy, and make a big tank to keep Trump in after his tacky Maga Lardo is seized

    • Dr. Franklin Waters

      February 29, 2024 at 1:34 pm

      There are no whales or dolphins to free at Mote. It’s a marine research institute that does awesome work and they deserve to be fully funded. They’re the leading research organization against Red Tide as well, which has become a huge problem in recent years, costing Florida untold millions of lost tourism revenue.

      I would like to see the build a tank to keep Trump in however.

      • Free WIlly

        February 29, 2024 at 1:40 pm

        Okay you convinced me. Keep Mote!

        Maybe drain Sea World for a tank to put Trump in after his Maga Lardo is seized

Comments are closed.


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