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General News · 23rd June 2008
Christian Gronau
While there are widespread shellfish closures due to PSP all around Cortes Island, area 13-15, which includes Gorge Harbour as yet remains open. (This may change with the next sample results, due by Wednesday p.m.)
What turns the waters of the Harbour into a brownish-green pea-soup is an extensive bloom of the small flagellate Heterosigma carterae. While this type of plankton is the bane of fish farmers - it can and often does kill fish - it is of no immediate danger to shellfish. Indeed, Heterosigma is known for its "allelopathic" capacities. That is : it chemically suppresses the growth of other planktonic organisms, hence its toxicity. The result is what we see in Gorge Harbour right now : an essentially monospecific bloom. Maybe, by suppressing the PSP-causing dinoflagellate Alexandrium, it is doing Gorge Harbour oyster farmers a favour ...
If it looks like a fish . . .
Comment by Jason Venetoulis on 24th June 2008
Empirical evidence seems to suggest something is not right.