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Toxic Algae Blooming in Pacific from California to Alaska Is Affecting Your Seafood


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https://www.yahoo.com/health/toxic-algae-blooming-in-pacific-from-california-to-125925530927.html

Toxic Algae Blooming in Pacific from California to Alaska Is Affecting Your Seafood

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“Red tides” are cyclical, but ocean researchers say this giant bloom is more poisonous and persistent than ever before. (Photo: Getty Images)

A vast bloom of toxic algae off the West Coast is denser, more widespread and deeper than scientists feared even weeks ago, according to surveyors aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel.

This coastal ribbon of microscopic algae, up to 40 miles wide and 650 feet deep in places, is flourishing amid unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures. It now stretches from at least California to Alaska and has shut down lucrative fisheries. Shellfish managers on Tuesday doubled the area off Washington’s coast that is closed to Dungeness crab fishing, after finding elevated levels of marine toxins in tested crab meat.

So-called “red tides” are cyclical and have happened many times before, but ocean researchers say this one is much larger and persisting much longer, with higher levels of neurotoxins bringing severe consequences for the Pacific seafood industry, coastal tourism and marine ecosystems.

Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the area now closed to crab fishing includes more than half the state’s 157-mile-long coast, and likely will bring a premature end to this year’s coastal crab season.

“We think it’s just sitting and lingering out there,” said Anthony Odell, a University of Washington research analyst who is part of a NOAA-led team surveying the harmful algae bloom, which was first detected in May. “It’s farther offshore, but it’s still there.”

The survey data should provide a clearer picture of what is causing the bloom which is brownish in color, unlike the blue and green algae found in polluted freshwater lakes. Marine detectives already have a suspect: a large patch of water running as much as 3 degrees centigrade warmer than normal in the northeast Pacific Ocean, nicknamed “the blob.”

“The question on everyone’s mind is whether this is related to global climate change. The simple answer is that it could be, but at this point it’s hard to separate the variations in these cycles,” said Donald Boesch, professor of marine science at the University of Maryland who is not involved in the survey. “Maybe the cycles are more extreme in the changing climate.”

“There’s no question that we’re seeing more algal blooms more often, in more places, when they do occur, they’re lasting longer and often over greater geographical areas. We’re seeing more events than documented decades ago,” said Pat Glibert, professor at Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Odell recently completed the first leg of the survey, mostly in California waters. On Wednesday, researchers plan to continue monitoring the sea between Newport, Oregon, and Seattle. The vessel will then go to Vancouver Island, wrapping up in early September. Another research ship is taking samples off Alaska.

The brownish bloom was particularly thick off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, and Odell said it was unusually dominated by one type of algae called Pseudo-nitzschia, which can produce the neurotoxin domoic acid.

“It’s an indication of an imbalance,” said Vera Trainer, a research oceanographer with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. “Too much of any one thing is not healthy for anybody to eat.”

Trainer said this bloom is the worst she’s seen in 20 years of studying them. Harmful algal blooms have usually been limited to one area of the ocean or another, and have disappeared after a few weeks. This one has grown for months, waxing and waning but never going away.

“It’s been incredibly thick, almost all the same organism. Looks like a layer of hay,” said Raphael Kudela, a professor of ocean sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz.

The current bloom also involves some of the highest concentrations of domoic acid yet observed in Monterey Bay and other areas of the West Coast.

“It’s really working its way into the food web and we’re definitely seeing the impacts of that,” Kudela said, noting that sea lions are getting sick and pelicans are being exposed. And now that the Pacific is experiencing its periodic ocean warming known as El Nino, it may come back even stronger next year, he said.

Domoic acid is harmful to people, fish and marine life. It accumulates in anchovies, sardines and other small fish as well as shellfish that eat the algae. Marine mammals and fish-eating birds in turn can get sick from eating the contaminated fish. In people, it can trigger amnesic shellfish poisoning, which can cause permanent loss of short-term memory in severe cases.

State health officials stress that seafood bought in stores is still safe to eat because it is regularly tested. While there have been no reports of human illnesses linked to this year’s bloom, authorities aren’t taking chances in fisheries with dangerous toxin levels.

California public health officials have warned against eating recreationally harvested mussels and claims, or any anchovy, sardines or crabs caught in waters off Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara counties. Other shellfish harvests are shut down along Oregon’s coast.

The most recent samples showed the highest-ever recorded concentrations of domoic acid in the internal organs of Dungeness crab, Ayres said.

“This is really unprecedented territory for us,” said Ayres.

 

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"Time is too slow for those who wait; too swift for those who fear;

too long for  those who grieve; too short for those who rejoice.

But for those who love, time is eternity."

(Jane Fellowes)

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Seafood is no longer a safe food.   We've  harmed the ocean ecosystems far too much. The dead zones in the Gulf, algae blooms from uber warm temps,  the dumping of  nuclear waste in the English channel, the Irish sea, all around Europe,  Fukishima, the gulf oil spill,  The dumping of WWI and WWII ordinance and chemical weapons and stock into the gulf and  the oceans,  climate change, over fishing,  naval  testing that affects  sea life,  and so on.  WE are on the brink, and I fear we are going over.

"I smell blood and an era of prominent madmen"

W. H. Auden
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I believe we have already gone over the brink, and extinction is in our future.  The animal kingdom is already becoming extinct, and we are next.

DarleneSignaturePic1.jpg

"Time is too slow for those who wait; too swift for those who fear;

too long for  those who grieve; too short for those who rejoice.

But for those who love, time is eternity."

(Jane Fellowes)

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BEER----> Big threat to mankind. 'The Plague' has come back and is here in California.

BELCH

 

Officials: Child camping in Yosemite National Park contracts plague

USA TODAY NETWORKMarc Cugnon and Mary Bowerman, USA TODAY Network3:08 p.m. EDT August 7, 2015
635744958554126338-635744685182249005-half-dome

(Photo: Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images)

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A child is recovering in the hospital after falling ill with the plague while camping in Yosemite National Parkin California officials said Thursday.

In mid-July, the child was camping with family at Yosemite's Crane Flat Campground and also visited areas of the Stanislaus National Forest, according to the California Department of Public Health. Officials said the child contracted the plague sometime during the trip, but none of the other family members were infected.

In Colorado, two people have died from the plague this year, AP reported.

Most recently, an unidentified person from Pueblo County, Colo., died from the plague on Tuesday.

The Colorado resident was an adult who is thought to have contracted the plague from exposure to rodents, fleas or dead animals, according to a report published by the Pueblo City-County Health Department.

The plague is normally spread through concentrated rodent populations. Rodents like rats and mice are known carriers of the fleas that cause the plague itself.

Plague incidences are many times preceded by mass animal die-offs, the Pueblo Country Health Department reports.

Health experts advise individuals to avoid dead animals, to treat clothing with insect repellent when hiking, to prevent pets from roaming and to avoid sharing a bed with pets. Plague victims normally exhibit symptoms, which include swollen lymph nodes, fever and chills, within a two- to six-day period.

"The key to treating the plague is catching it in time," said Sarah Joseph, public information officer for the Pueblo City-County Health Department. "Patients have to get treatment in a timely manner, and physicians have to identify it in time."

On average seven human plague cases are reported in the U.S. per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Between toxic algae, wildfires, and now the plague, California is being hit hard.  I'm sure there's more we can add to the list, but for now, to me, these are enough.  Material things can be replaced, except of course sentimental items, but people and wildlife can't, and my heart aches for all the losses because of these disasters.

DarleneSignaturePic1.jpg

"Time is too slow for those who wait; too swift for those who fear;

too long for  those who grieve; too short for those who rejoice.

But for those who love, time is eternity."

(Jane Fellowes)

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I hadn't realised that there were occasional cases of plague in the USA. I'd always associate such diseases with overcrowded slum conditions.

(I wonder how quickly a case of plague would be diagnosed in the UK - it seems that the word about Lyme disease hasn't reached all general practitioners here.)

We're currently in an El Nino - I don't know if that has something to do with the algae bloom. Although there are cycles in nature, human activity can, and does, tip the balance from normal to toxic.

Libby

"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape." Terry Pratchett

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I've said it before and will say it again, mankind is destroying this planet, and responsible for most, if not all of the diseases, because of our pollution and lack of sanitary conditions.  Most of mankind appears to care more about themselves and their personal comfort and entertainment then what they are doing to the only planet we have to live on.  Look at the population.  The planet's population is 3 times the sustainable level.  We're at 7 billion now.  According to "World Populatin Balance" website, several recent studies show that Earth’s resources are enough to sustain only about 2 billion people at a European standard of living. "Currently, over 7 billion of us are consuming about 50% more resources than Earth is producing – during any given time period. For example, in the past twelve months we have consumed the resources that it took the planet about eighteen months to produce. We are consuming our resource base."  The planet will survive, but we won't (History Channel ~ Life After People).

DarleneSignaturePic1.jpg

"Time is too slow for those who wait; too swift for those who fear;

too long for  those who grieve; too short for those who rejoice.

But for those who love, time is eternity."

(Jane Fellowes)

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Plague is natural in   some species out west. Not natural I mean, it's just been there. You get occasional human infection with it, though these past few years, it's seemed like more people are getting it.  California is really taking a big hit these days.

"I smell blood and an era of prominent madmen"

W. H. Auden
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BEER----> And to think, I scheduled a vacation for Yosemite 6 months ago for next week. I'll let you know if I contract anything.

BELCH

EARTH----> Mr. Belch, save yourself, don't go.

NUT

DarleneSignaturePic1.jpg

"Time is too slow for those who wait; too swift for those who fear;

too long for  those who grieve; too short for those who rejoice.

But for those who love, time is eternity."

(Jane Fellowes)

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