A "Red-Tide" algal bloom in Mississippi waters. (mpbonline.org)
The algal bloom that shut down beaches and oyster reefs in Mississippi last Friday could be the largest in recorded history, say scientists.
"This is the worst one we've had in a while," said LaDon Swann, marine scientist with the Gulf Coast Research Lab and director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, who has been closely monitoring the blooms from Mobile. "I think for Alabama, it's the worst they've ever had."
The bloom, measured in algal cells per liter of water, must reach 5,000 cells per liter in order to cause closures; Saturday's measurements placed concentrations at more than 1 million cells per liter in some areas of Mississippi. "This is very uncommon," said Kelly Lucas, DMR Chief Scientific Officer.
With algal levels this high, officials say people onshore with allergies and asthma may experience respiratory problems, while anglers should refrain from harvesting dead or distressed fish.
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