Harmful algal blooms: a scientific summary for policy makers
Kudela, RM and Berdalet, E and Bernard, S and Burford, M and Fernand, L and Lu, S and Roy, S and Tester, P and Usup, G and Magnien, R and Anderson, DM and Cembella, A and Chinain, M and Hallegraeff, G and Reguera, B and Zingone, A and Enevoldsen, H and Urban, E, Harmful algal blooms: a scientific summary for policy makers, IOC/UNESCO, Paris, IOC/INF-1320 (2015) [Report Other]
• Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) result from noxious and/or toxic algae that cause
direct and indirect negative impacts to aquatic ecosystems, coastal resources, and
• HABs are present in nearly all aquatic environments (freshwater, brackish and
marine), as naturally occurring phenomena.
• Many HABs are increasing in severity and frequency, and biogeographical
range. Causes are complex, but in some cases can be attributed to climate change
and human impacts, including eutrophication, habitat modification, and human-mediated
introduction of exogenous species.
• There is no plan, and nor realistic possibility, to eliminate HABs and/or their dependent
consequences. Decades of research and monitoring have, however, improved our
understanding of HAB events, leading to better monitoring and prediction strategies.
• HABs are a worldwide phenomenon requiring an international understanding
leading ultimately to local and regional solutions. Continued progress in research,
management, mitigation, and prediction of HABs benefits from international
coordination. In this spirit, the international community has developed programmes
sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and Scientific
Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) to coordinate international HAB research,
framework activities, and capacity building.
• HABs are recognized as one facet of complex ecosystem interactions with human
society. HAB research, monitoring, and management must be closely integrated with
policy decisions that affect our global oceans.
• New initiatives, such as GlobalHAB sponsored by IOC and SCOR, will continue to
provide the mechanisms to further understand, predict, and mitigate HABs. Research,
management, and mitigation efforts directed towards HABs must be coordinated
with other local, national, and international efforts focused on food and water
security, human and ecosystem health, ocean observing, and climate change.