BLUE-GREEN ALGAL BLOOM FAQ
Below are common questions regarding the current effects of the current blue-green algal bloom on Mississippi seafood. For more information about current beach closures and water quality, call MDEQ or click here to visit their beach monitoring site.
What exactly is blue-green algal bloom?
Blue-green algal bloom is a higher-than-normal concentration of microscopic plant-like organisms. These organisms have the capability to become toxic or harmful by other means such as lowering oxygen in the water. This current bloom is caused by cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that has the capability of producing toxins.
How did they develop?
The Mississippi Sound is currently experiencing a bloom of freshwater blue-green algae due to the large influx of nutrient-loaded freshwater from the Bonnet Carré Spillway. Blue-green algae are microscopic freshwater organisms that tend to thrive in nutrient rich waters.
What does a blue-green algal bloom look like?
Aerial footage and reports from the public and staff state that in high concentrations the blooms are thick and green in color. It can produce a foul smell, especially when it’s deteriorating.
What is being done to monitor the algal bloom?
Daily water sampling of known affected areas and potentially affected areas are being taken and analyzed. Toxin analysis has been done on water samples and were below any level of concern, but these blooms are dynamic and subject to change daily. MDMR will continue to sample water, get aerial views of the bloom, and to receive toxin analyses of the bloom.
Are all of Mississippi’s seafood affected by this bloom?
While there is a portion of Mississippi’s waters that are under advisement, there are still many areas that are unaffected.
Can I recreationally fish, shrimp, or crab from Mississippi’s waters?
It is advised that you use caution and do not take fish, crabs, or shrimp from the areas affected by the bloom. Any marine life from the affected area should not be consumed even if it is cooked or frozen. Click here to view the most current beach advisories.
Is it OK to eat the seafood purchased from the docks, dealers or local restaurants?
Are there any barrier island closures?
No, currently there are no barrier island closures. Water sampling efforts continue to monitor for any changes. Click here to view the most current beach advisories.
Is a blue-green algal bloom the same thing as Vibrio “flesh-eating bacteria”?
No, blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) are different from Vibrio. Both organisms are capable of causing illnesses. HAB exposure can cause rashes, stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea