Thousands of Miles of Toxic Algae Bloom

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“A record-breaking algal bloom continues to expand across the North Pacific reaching as far north as the Aleutian Islands and as far south as southern California.  Coinciding with well above average sea surface temperatures across the North Pacific and West Coast of North America, the bloom is laced with some toxic species that have had far-reaching consequences for sea life and regional and local economies.

  • At least 9 Fin whales were found dead near Kodiak Island, AK, in June, potentially related to the algal bloom…
  • In July, the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association received reports of dead and dying whales, gulls, and forage fish in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands…
  • Eextremely high levels of an algal toxin called domoic acid have led to closures of recreational razor clam harvests in Oregon and Washington, as well as closing of large portions of the Washington state Dungeness crab fishery and some of the sardine and anchovy fisheries in California.

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From Scientific American, earlier in August:

Although domoic acid, produced by marine diatoms of the genus Pseudo-nitzschia, is a naturally occurring toxin, during a toxic algal bloom, it accumulates at dangerous levels in shellfish and small fish like sardines and anchovies, which are then eaten by larger marine creatures and humans. Contaminated seafood can cause nausea and vomiting in people. At high levels, the toxin can cause brain damage, memory loss and even death.

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