Workshop Report Looks at State of HABS Detection Technology
May 28, 2009
DURHAM, N.H. -- The Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET), NOAA's Alliance for Coastal Technologies, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission convened a workshop in Fall 2008 to identify existing Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) detection technology, and discuss strategies for the development and commercialization of new technologies.
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) occur in the waters of almost every U.S. coastal state. Their economic impacts related to public health, commercial fishing closures, recreation, and tourism are estimated to average $75 million annually. Continuous monitoring, combined with rapid response, has been identified as the most effective way to mitigate the impact of HABs.
The workshop, "Technologies and Methodologies for the Detection of Harmful Algae and their Toxins," was held in St. Petersburg, Florida. Participants included researchers, coastal decision makers, and technology vendors from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Summaries of discussions, conclusions, and recommendations from this workshop are now available in a workshop report at www.act-us.info.
Central to this report are recommendations made by participants to develop strategies for HABS technology commercialization and implementation. For example, a chief obstacle to the development of HABs technology noted by workshop participants is the small size and diversity of the HABs market. Recommendations to address this included taking advantage of existing technology used in other kinds of environmental assessment and broadening the use of HABs technology to other applications.
CICEET is committed to helping coastal resource managers cope with HABs by improving the effectiveness and accessibility of HABs detection technologies. You can read about CICEET projects seeking to bridge the gap between HABs research and the application of pragmatic technology at ciceet.unh.edu/briefs/habs_brief/index.html.
A Rhizosolenia bloom in the Hood Canal, Washington. (R. Horner, photo)