Oceanographers are studying whether ‘climate change’ is contributing to an unprecedented bloom of toxic algae that spans the Pacific Coast of the United States and Canada, raising health concerns and leading to multimillion-dollar income losses from closed fisheries.
The bloom, which emerged in May, stretches thousands of miles from the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and has surprised researchers by its size and composition.
“It’s just lurking there,” Vera Trainer, research oceanographer with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Washington state, told Reuters on Thursday. “It’s the longest lasting, highest toxicity and densest bloom that we’ve ever seen” . . .
The runaway bloom of pseudo-nitzschia algae is believed to have been spawned in part by unusually warm ocean water along the West Coast that scientists have dubbed “the blob” . . .
The algae bloom has produced a profusion of a chemical compound called domoic acid, which accumulates in shellfish, anchovies and sardines exposed to it, and acts as a neurotoxin on higher orders of marine life, such as sea lions and birds, that feed on them. (Read more from “Massive Toxic Algae Bloom Reaches From California to Alaska” HERE)