UNEPNOWPAP CEARAC

Harmful Algal Blooms(HAB)

What are Harmful Algal Blooms?

A proliferation of unicellular phytoplankton which can cause massive fish or shellfish kills. HAB contaminates seafood with toxins and alters aquatic ecosystems in ways that humans perceive as being harmful. There are two phenomena, so-called Red Tide and Toxin-Producing plankton.

  • Red Tide - water discoloration by vastly increased unicellular phytoplankton that induces deterioration of aquatic ecosystems and occasional fishery damage.
  • Toxin-Producing plankton - phytoplankton species that produce toxins inside of their cells and contaminate fish and shellfish throughout the food chain.

Overview of Working Group 3 (WG3)

WG3 is the main body of the activities on coastal environmental assessment, which is a high priority issue of CEARAC. WG3 especially focuses on Red Tides and Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).
In the past, WG3 implemented activities to understand HABs occurrence in the NOWPAP region, such as disseminating related information and making a booklet of countermeasures against HABs, in order to enhance measures against HABs and mitigate damages by HABs.
WG3 summarized cochlodinium information and provided it to stakeholders as it is one of the concerned harmful species which induce damages in fisheries in the NOWPAP Region.
During 2008-2009, WG3 implement HAB Case Studies in the member states to establish the most effective and laborsaving methods to share information among the member states, and develops HAB Integrated Website to provide related information to the member states and other international organizations in order to enhance measures against HABs.

Publications
Report of WG Meeting
List of Experts

Activities of WG3

1.Achievements in the past (-2007)

I. National Reports / Integrated Report on HABs (2004-2005)

WG3 summarized the information on HAB occurrence in the member states and published the National Report and the Integrated Report on HABs to understand current situations. In the Integrated report, various kinds of HAB-related information in each member state were summarized and necessary future activities in this region were clarified.

II. Websites

WG3 established two websites to distribute useful information on HABs in the NOWPAP Region.

  • HAB Reference Database, summarizing papers in the NOWPAP region
    This database provides reference information on specific studies on HABs.
  • Website of Cochlodinium, one of the concerned species in the NOWPAP region
    This website provides basic information on cochlodinium.

III. Booklet of Countermeasures against HABs in the NOWPAP Region (2006-2007)

WG3 collected countermeasures against HABs, which have been implemented and/or under study in each member state to promote mitigation of HABs in member states, and published "Booklet of Countermeasures against HABs in the NOWPAP Region".

IV. Public awareness materials (2007)

WG3 made Cochlodinium pamphlet in the NOWPAP members’ languages and English to disseminate information widely.

2. Activities in 2008-2009

I. Implementation of HAB Case Studies

WG3 implements HAB Case Studies in the NOWPAP Region to establish the most effective and laborsaving methods to share HAB related information (HAB occurrences, oceanic and meteorologic conditions) and make reports. These case studies will be implemented in 1 or 2 selected sea area(s) in each member state where HABs occur frequently or occurrence is concerned in the near future.

II. Development of HAB Integrated Website

WG3 develops HAB Integrated Website to share the past achievements and data collected by HAB Case Studies among not only NOWPAP member states but also other international organizations. Through this website, CEARAC promotes cooperation with other Regional Seas Programmes and international projects.

III. Development of procedures for assessment of Eutrophication status including evaluation of land based sources of nutrients for the NOWPAP Region

As a joint activity of WG3 and WG4, "Procedures for assessment of eutrophication status including evaluation of land based sources of nutrients for the NOWPAP region (Common Procedures)" were be developed by utilizing RS techniques.
Application of the Common Procedures are planned in the selected sea areas of the NOWPAP member states to evaluate suitability of suggested methodology for the assessment of eutrophication status.

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