Scientists claim that the toxic algae bloom in the Pacific Ocean stretching from California north to Washington State might be the largest ever detected off the US West Coast.
First appearing in May the bloom involves microscopic algae that produce a neurotoxin potentially fatal to humans called domoic acid, according to researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz.The levels of domoic acid are extremely high in Monetary Bay and it appears as this will be the most toxic and spatially largest event seen in a decade.
Such blooms are harmful to marine animals and humans who are exposed to high levels of the toxic chemical domoic acid.
These blooms have been known to cause seizures and deaths in the sea lions of California.Fish and shellfish can accumulate the toxin without ill effect, but in humans it crosses into the brain and interferes with nerve signal transmission.
Crab fishing along the border of Oregon through southern Washington was closed by the authorities due to the high toxic levels.
A team of scientists has set out to study the bloom. They will try and determine whether the bloom is linked to warmer than usual waters from Washington to Southern California. The ship will sample water from the Mexican border to Vancouver Island, the Seattle Times reported. REUTERS