Akashiwo Sanguinea Strikes Again

Posted by: Chris Laughlin

The same deadly strain of harmful algal bloom is back – this time much deadlier.  as a result of a tiny little single celled dinoflagellate called Akashiwo Sanguinea.  It’s a rare form of harmful algal bloom (HAB) that strips the natural oils from the weather proofing of a bird’s plumage, causing them to die of hypothermia and dehydration.


Tragic events such as this are a blatant reminder of why it is so critical to get through Congress this year.  How long until the next fatal bloom, and who will suffer; marine life, dogs, horses, humans?  Trends indicate that HABs are on the rise, becoming more deadly and costing millions of dollars every year. 

If you are an experienced care giver for injured birds, or would like to make a donation of towels, large dog kennels, bleach or $, please call the Wildlife Center of the North Coast at 503-338-0331.  Click here for more info.

Please join us in our efforts to get the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act through Congress.

Date Posted: October 27, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

Posted by: Mike Dunmyer


Yesterday I attended a NOAA briefing on harmful algal blooms (HABs or Toxic Tides).  The presentation focused on the current state of HAB monitoring and forecasting, and featured a distinguished panel of scientists.  Before the panel kicked off, however, I got to hear one of our champions, put Toxic Tides in a context for everyman (you may recall that Congressman Baird introduced – a bill to improve our ability to mitigate, control and prevent HABs).

Congressman Baird started by saying that most people weren’t really worried about (or even aware of) harmful algal blooms, but that if they understood them, they would be.  He then gave several straightforward illustrations about the impacts of Toxic Tides:

  • He described how certain harmful algae have powerful neurotoxins that destroy short term memory.  He then stepped out of the room briefly, and upon returning told us that if we’d been exposed to this type of algae, we’d think we were seeing him for the first time that day, “Hey Brian, how ya doing?  Long time, no see.”
  • He talked about the toxic potency of blue-green algae, now appearing with greater frequency in freshwater lakes, by describing an event that just happened in his own district.  A family was walking their dog by a lake, and threw the dog’s favorite tennis ball into the lake.  The dog dove into the lake, scooped the ball up in his mouth, brought it back to his loving family, and promptly died.
  • When massive algal blooms die, they often create hypoxic (low oxygen) or anoxic (no oxygen) zones in the ocean.  Congressman Baird stated that if the area outside the Capitol was a hypoxic zone, most of us would perish while trying to walk over to one of the nearby office buildings.  This, he said, was the fate of marine animals that try to swim through any one of the 400 major hypoxic zones now found in the ocean.

For these reasons and others, Congressman Baird is passionate about passing H.R. 3650, and so are we.  As the panel went on to describe, HABs destroy habitat, kill fish, sea birds and mammals, and have caused over $1 billion in damages over the last decade.  One Florida county recently estimated that they lose $6 million every day of a HAB outbreak, NOT including health care costs.  Ocean Champions is working hard to fight Toxic Tides, and thanks to the leadership of champions like Congressman Baird, we’re .

Date Posted: October 21, 2009 @ 2:25 am

Posted by: Chris Laughlin

released on September 17th is through this Saturday, October 17th. The first EVER National Ocean Policy is set to come out by the end of this year.

Now is the time .   To echo what (National Ocean Policy), “If we don’t solve the governance problem and start making sacrifices, we’ll soon have squandered all the gifts the ocean has bestowed upon us. I hope the Task Force seizes the opportunity and act with courage and conviction to protect our oceans.”

Obama Administration officials are scheduled to hold the gulf coast regional task force public meeting in So far, there have been four other well attended public meetings:  Anchorage, Alaska; ; and Hawaii.  .  Please rally your ocean friends and show your support for the national ocean policy by attending these meetings!  If you weren’t or aren’t able to attend the public meetings, .

The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.“–Jacques Cousteau

It’s up to “us”… where are we going to steer it?

Boat sterring wheel

Date Posted: October 12, 2009 @ 6:07 pm Comments Off