Toxic or harmful algal blooms (HABs) are the immense growth of microscopic and macroscopic marine algae that destroys local marine life. They produce powerful toxins that can kill fish, turtles, and other animals. In addition, bigger algae can clog the gills of fish and deplete the oxygen in the water. Red tides are an example and, more specifically, the red lake in west Texas earlier this year is an example. Click the second citation to read more about the red lake in Texas.
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The harmful algae blooms occur in almost every US coastal state. According to NOAA, the direct economic cost each year is an average of $75 million, which includes costs to public health, commercial fishing closures, recreation and tourism losses, and costs associated with monitoring and management.
Algal blooms can also cause hypoxia or anoxia, which is the depletion or complete removal of diluted oxygen from water. When oxygenated water disappears, very few marine species can survive.
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