Abstract Title

Session S-08A: Harmful Algal Blooms, Climate, Shellfish, and Public Health - Emerging Issues in a Changing World

Presenter/Author Information

Andy Gregory, Puget Soundkeeper AllianceFollow

Keywords

Harmful Algal Blooms and Shellfish

Start Date

2-5-2014 8:30 AM

End Date

2-5-2014 10:00 AM

Description

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity around the world causing concern for shellfish and finfish growers, researchers, regulatory agencies, and coastal communities. In Puget Sound, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) monitors shellfish near recreational and commercial harvest sites for the presence of domoic acid and paralytic shellfish toxins, toxins known to cause human illnesses when consumed. Led by researchers at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), HAB stakeholders in Puget Sound have established an early warning network called SoundToxins to collect and share information about the environmental conditions associated with HABs. SoundToxins is a voluntary environmental monitoring program intended to provide early warning of Harmful Algal Blooms and Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vibrio) events in order to minimize both human health risks and economic losses to Puget Sound fisheries. The network requires volunteers to collect water samples, screen them for the presence of phytoplankton and Vibrio bacteria, and share their data with other partners. This study examines existing institutional arrangements for HAB and Vibrio monitoring and management in Puget Sound and is grounded in the literatures of collective action, club theory, value of information in decision-making, and institutional analysis and development. SoundToxins is evaluated to determine its effectiveness in providing early warnings to managers and to find opportunities for improvement. Through a review of data records and use of qualitative interviewing techniques and a focus group, and participant observation, SoundToxins’ goals were formed and if they were achieved, what costs and benefits are associated with participation in the network, how valuable environmental data such as phytoplankton or bacterial cell counts are in making shellfish and finfish harvesting or closure decisions, and whether current institutional arrangements are effective in achieving SoundToxins’ goals. Contributions to community data on HABs and Vibrio status in Puget Sound are not being made to the degree envisioned by SoundToxins’ founders and institutional analysis aids understanding why this may be so. These findings lead to recommendations for ways to modify SoundToxins’ programmatic structure to meet the needs of HAB stakeholders in Puget Sound.

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May 2nd, 8:30 AM May 2nd, 10:00 AM

Institutional Arrangements for Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Management in Puget Sound: An Analysis of SoundToxins

Room 615-616-617

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity around the world causing concern for shellfish and finfish growers, researchers, regulatory agencies, and coastal communities. In Puget Sound, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) monitors shellfish near recreational and commercial harvest sites for the presence of domoic acid and paralytic shellfish toxins, toxins known to cause human illnesses when consumed. Led by researchers at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), HAB stakeholders in Puget Sound have established an early warning network called SoundToxins to collect and share information about the environmental conditions associated with HABs. SoundToxins is a voluntary environmental monitoring program intended to provide early warning of Harmful Algal Blooms and Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vibrio) events in order to minimize both human health risks and economic losses to Puget Sound fisheries. The network requires volunteers to collect water samples, screen them for the presence of phytoplankton and Vibrio bacteria, and share their data with other partners. This study examines existing institutional arrangements for HAB and Vibrio monitoring and management in Puget Sound and is grounded in the literatures of collective action, club theory, value of information in decision-making, and institutional analysis and development. SoundToxins is evaluated to determine its effectiveness in providing early warnings to managers and to find opportunities for improvement. Through a review of data records and use of qualitative interviewing techniques and a focus group, and participant observation, SoundToxins’ goals were formed and if they were achieved, what costs and benefits are associated with participation in the network, how valuable environmental data such as phytoplankton or bacterial cell counts are in making shellfish and finfish harvesting or closure decisions, and whether current institutional arrangements are effective in achieving SoundToxins’ goals. Contributions to community data on HABs and Vibrio status in Puget Sound are not being made to the degree envisioned by SoundToxins’ founders and institutional analysis aids understanding why this may be so. These findings lead to recommendations for ways to modify SoundToxins’ programmatic structure to meet the needs of HAB stakeholders in Puget Sound.