Impacts of harmful algae on seafarming in the Asia-Pacific areas

Seafarming to produce human food has recently intensified, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Disastrous impacts of harmful phytoplankton blooms, however, have been experenced during the past 20 years. In extreme cases, these render shellfish and finfish toxic or cause massive fish and shrimp kills. Problems from marine algae in the region include paralytic shellfish poisoning, diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, ciguatera, tetrodotoxin poisoning, fish kills and tainting of fish and shellfish. An analysis of 72 incidents since 1934 showed that 57% were fish and shrimp kills; almost all the remainder were PSP events. By mid-1994 there had been 3164 recorded cases of human poisoning and 148 reported deaths from these events in Asia-Pacific. Economic losses may exceed one million US dollars per event, while monitoring costs may be up to $50000 annually for each affected area. Research needs, management strategies and international cooperation are discussed. National action plan considerations include shellfish sanitation programs, public awareness and education, coastal engineering and classification of waters to protect public health.


Corrales, R.A., Maclean, J.L. (1995)
Journal of Applied Phycology 7:151-162