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The Issue

Many algal species form blooms commonly referred to as "red tides," each with distinct impacts. The New England Harmful Algal Bloom event is caused by the toxic alga Alexandrium fundyense. Blooms of this microscopic alga occur periodically in the Gulf of Maine.

Red tides, also known as harmful algal blooms or HABs, can produce potent neurotoxins that accumulate in filter-feeding shellfish and other parts of the marine food web. Shellfish contaminated with the toxin from Alexandrium, if eaten in large enough quantity, can cause illness or death from paralytic shellfish poisoning or PSP.  States have well-established, rigorous shellfish monitoring programs to protect human health, so consumers are assured that commercially available shellfish are safe for consumption. 

New England Red Tide Research and Response

To learn more about New England HAB research and response efforts visit:

NOAA's Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research Webpage on Alexandrium research in New England

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Northeast PSP Page




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General Information

Partner News Releases

Reporting Incidents

Seafood Safety

More about Red Tides and Harmful Algal Blooms

2005 - 2006 Event Archive

2008 Event Archive

2009 Event Archive

Fishery Assistance Information

NOAA Fisheries Service, Magnuson-Stevens Act 312(a) Information (pdf, 48kb)

NOAA Responds to New England Red Tide – A Questions & Answer Resource

Regional Information, Including Maps

NOAA Fisheries Regional "Hot News" Red Tide Web Site

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Northeast PSP

State Closure Information

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