HABs that cause shellfish toxicity can significantly impact the livelihood of commercial shellfishermen, owners of restaurants, and seafood markets. Recreational clammers are also affected. (S. Gladu)

Socioeconomic Impacts of HABs

The demand for seafood as part of a healthy diet, combined with globalization of trade and tourism, expands the geographic boundaries for human exposure and subsequent illness as well as those of economic losses beyond historically affected coastal communities.  The economic and public health impacts of HABs can be profound.

Many millions of dollars are spent annually addressing the known HAB-related impacts on public health, commercial fisheries, recreation, tourism, environmental monitoring, and bloom management.  Public health impacts account for the largest economic impacts, followed by commercial fisheries and tourism.  Even one HAB can be extremely costly.  The hidden costs to secondary industries (e.g. food processing or aquaculture suppliers), human illness (e.g. medical care for undiagnosed or chronic illnesses), and decline in consumer confidence (e.g. failure to purchase seafood in restaurants or reserve fishing charter trips) remain unknown.

Economic Impacts

Societal Impacts

Aquaculture Losses

Last updated: February 25, 2016