DV-14-18 Representing Maine at the International Harmful Algal Bloom Conference

Alison Sirois
Shellfish Growing Area Supervisor
Maine Department of Marine Resources
Bureau of Public Health

In order to protect people from consuming potentially dangerous shellfish, European Union countries are required to monitor for all harmful algal bloom (HAB) species and have extensive identification protocols and programs. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration does not require phytoplankton monitoring. Due to a recent partnership between Bigelow Analytical Services and Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine has the ability to be the first state in the country to meet European biotoxin testing requirements and therefore gain eligibility to export shellfish to Europe. This would make available additional markets and opportunities and have significant impacts for the $25 million shellfish industry.

Participation in the International Conference on Harmful Algae in Wellington, New Zealand expanded partnerships with key countries and regulators to gain further knowledge about phytoplankton monitoring programs. Sirois presented a poster on her research, “Monitoring Alexandrium fundyense using fluorescent in-situ hybridization and an Imaging Flow Cytometer (FlowCAM®) for early detection of toxic bloom events in Harpswell, Maine” and is a second author on a NOAA-funded project regarding novel technology for HAB early warnings.

Sea Grant funds: $2,939