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World - UN to Issue First-Ever Global Report on Harmful Algal Blooms

After 7 years' work, 100+ experts in 112 countries deliver 1st global assessment of HABs, synthesizing three decades of data

A seven-year analysis of almost 10,000 Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) events worldwide over three decades will be published by the HAB Programme of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

More than 100 scientists in 112 countries contributed to the synthesis and analysis of HAB data gathered from 1985 to 2018 -- a first-ever big data approach to detecting changes in the costly phenomenon's global distribution, frequency, and intensity.

The authors detail the health and economic damages caused by harmful microalgae, including:

  • Bioaccumulation of toxins in seafood (the most dominant HAB problem, broken down by both region and by algae species)
  • Toxic or non-toxic microalgae blooms causing discoloured water, scum, mucilage or foam, harming tourism and/or fisheries
  • Mass fish kills, including in aquaculture operations
  • High biomass, causing closures of e.g. beaches or desalination plants

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