Coastal toxic algae bloom threat

troutdude

Moderator
This does not sound good...


The Associated Press
August 5, 2015
Toxic Algae Blooming in Pacific from California to Alaska Is Affecting Your Seafood

“Red tides” are cyclical, but ocean researchers say this giant bloom is more poisonous and persistent than ever before. (Photo: Getty Images)

A vast bloom of toxic algae off the West Coast is denser, more widespread and deeper than scientists feared even weeks ago, according to surveyors aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel.

This coastal ribbon of microscopic algae, up to 40 miles wide and 650 feet deep in places, is flourishing amid unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures. It now stretches from at least California to Alaska and has shut down lucrative fisheries. Shellfish managers on Tuesday doubled the area off Washington’s coast that is closed to Dungeness crab fishing, after finding elevated levels of marine toxins in tested crab meat.

So-called “red tides” are cyclical and have happened many times before, but ocean researchers say this one is much larger and persisting much longer, with higher levels of neurotoxins bringing severe consequences for the Pacific seafood industry, coastal tourism and marine ecosystems.

Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the area now closed to crab fishing includes more than half the state’s 157-mile-long coast, and likely will bring a premature end to this year’s coastal crab season.

“We think it’s just sitting and lingering out there,” said Anthony Odell, a University of Washington research analyst who is part of a NOAA-led team surveying the harmful algae bloom, which was first detected in May. “It’s farther offshore, but it’s still there.”

The survey data should provide a clearer picture of what is causing the bloom which is brownish in color, unlike the blue and green algae found in polluted freshwater lakes. Marine detectives already have a suspect: a large patch of water running as much as 3 degrees centigrade warmer than normal in the northeast Pacific Ocean, nicknamed “the blob.”

“The question on everyone’s mind is whether this is related to global climate change. The simple answer is that it could be, but at this point it’s hard to separate the variations in these cycles,” said Donald Boesch, professor of marine science at the University of Maryland who is not involved in the survey. “Maybe the cycles are more extreme in the changing climate.”

“There’s no question that we’re seeing more algal blooms more often, in more places, when they do occur, they’re lasting longer and often over greater geographical areas. We’re seeing more events than documented decades ago,” said Pat Glibert, professor at Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Odell recently completed the first leg of the survey, mostly in California waters. On Wednesday, researchers plan to continue monitoring the sea between Newport, Oregon, and Seattle. The vessel will then go to Vancouver Island, wrapping up in early September. Another research ship is taking samples off Alaska.

The brownish bloom was particularly thick off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, and Odell said it was unusually dominated by one type of algae called Pseudo-nitzschia, which can produce the neurotoxin domoic acid.

“It’s an indication of an imbalance,” said Vera Trainer, a research oceanographer with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. “Too much of any one thing is not healthy for anybody to eat.”

to read more: https://www.yahoo.com/health/toxic-algae-blooming-in-pacific-from-california-to-125925530927.html
 

GaryP1958

Active member
The mother of all El Ninos will swamp Southern California, they wanted water there going to get it! Its overblown I lived down there 50 years the 83 one was wicked destroyed Malibu Pier! Take it with a grain of salt the Agency;s are trying to secure funding!
 

coyo7e

Member
The mother of all El Ninos will swamp Southern California, they wanted water there going to get it! Its overblown I lived down there 50 years the 83 one was wicked destroyed Malibu Pier! Take it with a grain of salt the Agency;s are trying to secure funding!
In less fanciful and farcical and more realistic terms, the "blob" of warm water between N America and Asia has grown to cover nearly the entire water area now, rather than just a weird hot spot in the middle. After working in science and grant-based research for a decade I am starting to have a suspicion that this is not a government conspiracy to raise my fishing license costs.. "3 Million dollars on bear DNA!?!?" is actually a farcically small budget when you think about buying vehicles, equipment, insurance, hiring people.. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mccains-beef-with-bears/
 
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