17.06.2015 - Natural Sciences Sector

New publication on Harmful Algal Blooms for policy makers

© ESA Satellite photo of a phytoplankton bloom near Ireland.

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) occur in nearly all aquatic environments and can cause harm to aquatic ecosystems, including plants and animals, and to humans via direct exposure to water-borne toxins or by toxic seafood consumption. The severity and frequency of some types of HABs is increasing. In order to address this worldwide phenomenon, research, monitoring, and management must be closely integrated with policy decisions that affect our global ocean. With this in mind, a new Scientific Summary for Policymakers on Harmful Algal Blooms was launched during the 28th session of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s Assembly at UNESCO headquarters on 17 June 2015.

Many natural and anthropogenic factors regulate the occurrence, frequency and impact of algal events, ranging from local eutrophication, changes in climate and increased exploitation of coastal areas. The Summary considers the causes, impacts and mitigation options, including management issues associated with harmful algal events and their impacts on ecosystems and society. This overview of the current scientific understanding of harmful algal blooms and mitigation options will assist non-specialist and decisions makers in planning monitoring and management of harmful algal events to address environmental, socio-economic and health impacts.

It was prepared by the Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms research programme (GEOHAB), a joint project of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, and benefited from the contributions of experts all over the world.

the Scientific Summary is freely available online (pdf). For printed copies, please contact:

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