NCCOS organized a special session for the 71st Annual Meeting of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association that addressed how to mitigate the impacts of harmful algal blooms (HABs) on U.S. aquaculture. The session at the September 2017 meeting raised awareness about advances in HAB science, highlighted HAB monitoring and early warning projects that benefit shellfish growers, and previewed plans for operational HAB forecasting along the Pacific Coast.
NOAA expects a 50 percent increase in U.S. marine aquaculture production by 2020. This planned expansion comes at a time when harmful algal blooms are also on the rise—in frequency, intensity, and variety. The toxins produced by harmful algal blooms tax seafood safety programs and disrupt industry operations with recalls and loss of product, at times costing coastal economies tens of millions of dollars.
Speakers from NCCOS, the University of California Santa Cruz, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington Department of Health, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and Washington Sea Grant demonstrated successful science-grower partnerships and discussed how scientists, state managers, and shellfish growers can collaborate to improve our national response to harmful algal blooms.