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WHOI Waypoints: Red Tides Breed Red Ink

“Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), also known as ‘red tides,’ are a serious and growing problem in the US. They represent a highly visible indicator of the health of our coastal ocean...HABs impact public health, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, and coastal aesthetics...Virtually every coastal state is now threatened by harmful or toxic algal species, whereas 30 years ago, the problem was much more scattered and sporadic. The number of toxic blooms, the economic losses from them, the types of resources affected, and the number of toxins and toxic species have all increased dramatically...impacts in the United States can reach $50 million per year...Since increased pollution and nutrient loading may enhance the growth of some species, these events may be prevented by reducing pollution inputs to coastal waters...HAB problems facing the US are diverse, so this argues against funding that ebbs and floods with the sporadic pattern of HAB outbreaks or that focuses resources in one region while others go begging...We need a scientifically based allocation of resources, not one based on political jurisdictions.”

-- Testimony of WHOI Senior Scientist Donald Anderson, (Biology) in March 2003 to the Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Environment, Technology, and Standards of the US House of Representatives. Anderson is director of the National Office for Marine Biotoxins and Harmful Algal Blooms. To learn more, visit http://www.whoi.edu/redtide

 

Originally published: July 1, 2003