Red tides are a large accumulation of algal blooms in a coastal area. They can be poisonous, which can poison the shellfish.
A “red tide” is a term used to describe harmful algae blooms in marine coastal areas. The species involved in these harmful algae blooms are reddish tinted. The harmful algae blooms are also often associated with large-scale marine mortality events, and in the past have been involved in shellfish poisoning.
Red Tide usually refers to an bloom of harmful algae. Sometimes red or brown in color, but not always. There are many causes of algal blooms from increased fertilization from human activities to the normal continental shelf upwelling. Shellfish are filter feeders and during a bloom can eat a lot of the toxic algae. The toxin is usually something called saxitoxin it is a neurotoxin and causes paralytic shellfish poisoning if the contaminated shellfish are eaten.
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