Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Early warning of HABs through Effective Monitoring Programs

The Olympic Region Harmful Algal Bloom (ORHAB) on the outer Washington State coast and the SoundToxins partnership in Puget Sound are bringing knowledge to the local communities, empowering tribes and state managers to make scientifically-based decisions about managing and mitigating harmful algal bloom (HAB) impacts on coastal fishery resources. The ORHAB Partnership was formed in June 1999 by local residents and coastal communities' in response to seemingly random closures of the razor clam fishery due to domoic acid contamination." It became clear that in order to manage these outbreaks there was a need to better understand underlying dynamics of these disruptive HAB events. The ORHAB Partnership was formed in June 1999 by local residents and coastal communities' in response to seemingly random closures of the razor clam fishery due to domoic acid contamination." In 2005, a user-fee to shellfish licenses, approved by the Washington State legislature, was established to provide state funding to sustain ORHAB program monitoring.

The SoundToxins program began in 2006 to address increasing HAB problems due to domoic acid closures in Sequim Bay and Penn Cove, WA in 2005 by providing early warning to managers of any potential spreading of this new HAB problem into the rest of Puget Sound. Similarly, in the summer of 2011, diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) events in Sequim Bay highlighted the need for SoundToxins to expand into more shellfishing areas to determine whether DSP was more widespread. The importance of SoundToxins as an early warning system resulted in the partnership with Washington Sea Grant and the Washington State Department of Health to institutionalize the program in 2012.

Recent Publications

Hickey, B.M., Trainer, V.L., Kosro, M.P., Adams, N.G., Connolly, T.P., Kachel, N.B., Geier, S.L. 2013. A springtime source of toxic Pseudo-nitzschia on razor clam beaches in the Pacific Northwest. Harmful Algae. doi: 10.1016/j.hal.2013.01.006

Anderson, D.M., Burkholder, J.M, Cochlan, W.P., Glibert P.M., Gobler, C.J., Heil, C.A., Kudela, R., Parsons, M.L., Rensel, J.E., Townsend, D.W., Trainer, V.L. and G.A. Vargo. 2008. Harmful algal blooms and eutrophication: Examples of possible linkages from selected coastal regions of the United States. Harmful Algae 8(1): 39-53.

Litaker R.W., Stewart T. N., Eberhart B.T., Wekell J.C., Trainer V.L., Kudela R.M., Miller P.E., Roberts A., Hertz C., Johnson T.A. Frankfurter G., Smith G.J., Schnetzer A., Schumacker J., Bastian J.L, Odell A., Gentien P., Dominique L.G., Hardison D.R., Tester, P.A. 2008. Rapid enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the detection of the algal toxin domoic acid. Harmful Algae. 27(5):1301-1310.

Lefebvre, K.A., Bill, B.D., Erickson, A., Baugh, K.A., O’Rourke, L., Costa, P.R., Nance, S. and V.L Trainer. 2008. Characterization of dissolved and particulate saxitoxin levels in both field and cultured Alexandrium samples from Sequim Bay, WA. Marine Drugs 6: 103-116.

Bill, B.D., Cox, F.H., Horner, R.A., Borchert, J.A., Trainer, V.L. 2006. The first closure of shellfish harvesting due to domoic acid in Puget Sound, Washington, USA. Afr. J. Mar. Sci. 28(2): 437-442.

Trainer, V.L. and Suddleson, M. 2005. Monitoring approaches for early warning of domoic acid events in Washington State. Oceanography 18(2): 228-237.

Trainer, V.L. and ORHAB collaborators. 2004. Monitoring approaches for improved prediction of domoic acid poisoning events in Washington State. pp.511-513. In K.A. Steidinger,, J.H. Landsberg, C.R. Tomas, and G.A Vargo (eds), Harmful Algae 2002, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Institute of Oceanography, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, St. Petersburg, FL.