Blog Post
by Hayley Carter / California Ocean Science Trust, San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival

Harmful Algal Blooms and California Fisheries: Beginning the Scientific Discussion

October 25, 2016

Now available - Harmful Algal Blooms and California Fisheries: Scientific Insights, Recommendations and Guidance for California

We are excited to share the final report out of the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team "Harmful Algal Blooms and California Fisheries" Working Group.

Download the report here.

The report is meant to provide a “menu” of scientifically robust and vetted options to consider for California’s public health and natural resource management agencies, foundations, and communities affected by toxic bloom events.

The report was developed based on discussion and contributions from a working group of the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team. Members had expertise in phytoplankton ecology and physiology, biological oceanography, biotoxins, and modeling. This report is complementary to a “Frequently Asked Questions” document released by Ocean Science Trust in August.

As a next step, Ocean Science Trust will continue to engage with California agencies, legislature, fishermen, and other community members on this issue in order to scope the second phase of a “Harmful Algal Blooms and California Fisheries” working group. The goal of the next phase will be to address some of the recommendations encompassed in this report.

For more information about this project, visit Ocean Science Trust's HABs project page, or contact Errin Ramanujam, Senior Scientist (errin.ramanujam@oceansciencetrust.org).

 

 


From August 5, 2016

Ocean Science Trust is pleased to announce the release of a new product: Frequently Asked Questions: Harmful Algal Blooms and California Fisheries.

The document is designed to serve as a resource to build common understanding across all engaged in this issue, and provide clarity on the State’s current practices (through July 2016) to harmful algal bloom (HAB) monitoring and management, and seafood toxin sampling and testing protocols.

The document was informed by questions submitted to Ocean Science Trust by the Interagency HAB Task Force, along with input from the California Dungeness Crab Task Force Executive Committee, Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara, the office of California Senator Mike McGuire, and the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture. Additionally, a public conference call was held on July 27, 2016 to further engage with the fishing industries involved and other interested parties. A key themes summary and audio recording of this call is available on the Harmful Algal Blooms and Fisheries webpage on the Ocean Science Trust website.

As a next step, this document will be submitted to the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture during a public hearing scheduled for 1pm on Wednesday, August 10. For more details, click here. Following the hearing, Ocean Science Trust will continue to work with the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT) working group to develop a scientific guidance document, which will be delivered to the Interagency HABs Task Force on September 30, 2016.  

We thank you in advance for sharing these products and announcements with your colleagues, peers, and constituents. 

Thanks,

Hayley Carter and Errin Ramanujam
Ocean Science Trust

 


From July 19, 2016

On Wednesday, July 27, Ocean Science Trust hosted an information sharing and gathering conference call to begin discussing our scientific understanding of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and their potential impacts to California fisheries. Dungeness crab, rock crab and other shellfish industry members of the public were invited.

 

Beginning to Understand the Impacts of Harmful Algal Blooms on California Fisheries

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 — 10:00 am - 11:00 am (PST)

AGENDA (PDF)
CALL SUMMARY (PDF)
CALL RECORDING

 

The goals of the call were to:

  • Share information about the process underway to build our collective knowledge and understanding about HABs and potential impacts to California fisheries;
  • Inform initial HABs frequently asked questions (FAQs), which are being produced by Ocean Science Trust with input from the industry, the academic community, and State and Federal agencies;
  • Discuss how industry, academics, and agencies can continue to engage in a constructive dialogue; and
  • Gain details about next steps in the process, including future opportunities to help inform and guide the types of questions the State should address in the long-term.

 

The 2015-16 commercial and recreational fishing seasons for California Dungeness and rock crab was one like we have never experienced before. High levels of a neurotoxin, called domoic acid, was found in Dungeness and rock crab from Santa Barbara to the California-Oregon border, causing dramatic statewide impacts due to the closure of both fisheries for more than five months. This unprecedented HAB event caused California to take stock of current regulatory and scientific protocols related to toxin monitoring and management to better manage impacts that may be caused by future events.

In response to this need, an Interagency Marine HAB Task Force was recently formed in California to begin addressing potential management and regulatory considerations related to this multi-jurisdictional issue. To help inform these discussions, the Ocean Protection Council reached out to California Ocean Science Trust, an independent non-profit, to produce a FAQ document and convene a Science Advisory Team (SAT) working group (see the Scope of Work here). The SAT working group will explore the science supporting California’s existing HAB and biotoxin monitoring programs, and provide scientific guidance for better understanding, predicting, and managing for impacts related to HABs. Initial discussions with the California Dungeness Crab Task Force Executive Committee and the Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara have helped to identify industry’s priority questions and areas of interest (see the full list of submitted questions here).

Visit our Harmful Algal Blooms and Fisheries webpage for more information about the process and timeline, as well as upcoming events and additional resources.

 

Questions? Contact Errin Ramanujam, Associate Scientist, at errin.ramanujam@oceansciencetrust.org.  

 

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