Toxic Tides (Harmful Algal Blooms)
In 2010, The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act was introduced, and we worked hard with our champions to pass it in the House. Unfortunately it ran out of time in the Senate. In 2012, we came even closer to passing it in the Senate. Good bills often take a few cycles to pass, however, and after knocking on the door in the last two Congresses, we’re working diligently with our ocean champions to blow the door open and ensure the HABs bill’s passage in the current congress!
The HABs bill will develop and implement a national strategy and regional action plans to combat harmful algal blooms in our oceans and waterways.
Harmful algal blooms, which often produce a toxin and occur in both salt and fresh water, are known to kill fish, marine mammals, and birds; they can contaminate shellfish with toxins and harm human health, sometimes resulting in fatalities. They shut down fisheries, sideline fishermen and drive tourists away from resorts. Researchers have estimated that HABs cost coastal communities nearly $100 million annually.
Most recently, in March of 2013, a record number of Florida’s endangered manatees died due to a toxic algal bloom. Though an algal bloom is expected every year off the coast of Florida, this is the worst to date.
For more information:
- Ocean Champions HABs Overview
- List of 2009-2013 HAB outbreaks as reported
- NOAA's National Ocean Service Harmful Algal Blooms Pages
- EPA info on HABS
- Realtime maps of HABs in Chesapeake Bay
- Forecasting Toxic Algal Blooms in California
- California Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Alert Program
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's Harmful Algal Blooms Pages
- The Woods Hole Oceanographic Insitute's Harmful Algae Pages
- Surfrider Foundation's Beachapedia, the coastal knowledge resource
- September, 2010 Interagency Working Group Report on Harmful Algal Blooms, Hypoxia, and Human Health