Researchers in California worry that the toxic algae invasion discovered in the Pacific Ocean, stretching from California to British Columbia, is actually the largest of its kind ever spotted coming from the West Coast.
Scientists say that the toxic algae invasion is unusually large and researchers working at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada are currently trying to control the situation by closing down a fishing area in Vancouver Island, northern Tahsis.
Ian Perry, scientist at DFO, said that although the toxic algae bloom is so large, it doesn’t pose any health threats to humans yet.
The toxic algae bloom was observed for the first time in May.
Scientists from the University of California, Santa Cruz, said the microscopic algae are dangerous because it can produce a neurotoxin called domoic acid, which is fatal if it comes in contact with humans.
Raphael Kudela, a professor of ocean sciences at the university, said that the levels of domoic acid that have been observed in Monterey Bay in California are the highest ever seen.
Professor Kudela added that the levels of domoic acid are so high in Monterey Bay at the moment that it has already reached the northern regions of Washington state.
According to Kudela, the algae invasion is one of the most toxic and biggest environmental event in the last decade.
Environmental experts are now concerned about the impact this will have on the marine life, especially on the shellfish that live in the region.
The most threatened marine animals are crabs, razor clams, sardines and hake, which could already have a high level of domoic acid.
This substance is not only dangerous for human health, it can also poison shellfish with ASP.
Experts say that if humans consume fish that has ASP, they can suffer from food poisoning.
According to reports by the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife, domoic acid has affected more than 100 people so far, with seven of them dying from the intoxication.
The agency warned that although shellfish and fish can consume the toxic algae because it poses no real health danger, to humans this can be extremely dangerous because the toxin interferes with the brain, affecting the nerve signals.
Image Source: cbc