In April, scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science-funded Prevention, Control, and Mitigation of Harmful Algal Blooms research project in the Gulf of Maine issued an outlook for moderate regional algal blooms in 2012. The species is a microscopic alga, Alexandrium fundyense, which blooms in New England waters every year.
This alga can cause toxic ‘red tides’ each spring and summer, potentially threatening the New England shellfish industry. Early warning helps state managers and the shellfish industry protect human health and minimize economic impacts. Direct and indirect costs of the severe 2005 Alexandrium bloom were estimated at nearly $50 million for Massachusetts and $23 million for Maine.