Unprecedented Toxic Algal Bloom Forces Shut Down Of West Coast Shellfish Industry

The west coast’s shellfish industry has been shut down by an unprecedented toxic algal bloom. The toxic algae extends from California to the Canadian border. Shellfish in California, Oregon and Washington state is unsafe to eat. The proximal cause is the extraordinarily warm east Pacific ocean where abnormally high sea surface temperatures have inhibited mixing, trapping nutrient rich water and toxic algae in a narrow coastal zone. “It appears to be the largest we’ve seen in terms of severity and magnitude,” said Michael Milstein, spokesman with NOAA Fisheries.
He said when the ocean is warm and not “mixing,” algae grow and produce a toxin, which is then eaten by sardines, anchovy and other fish that feed on the algae.

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