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Ocean acidification: The facts

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High levels of toxic algae has seen a shellfish poisoning warning issued for the Bay of Plenty and Thames/Coromandel coastline. But what does that mean?

Toxin levels in shellfish are more than 20 times the level at which warnings are issued, and may still be rising, says MPI Principal Adviser Animal Products, Jim Sim.

Click the image above to watch the video

This video has been produced to highlight ocean acidification as a potential issue affecting the NZ shellfish aquaculture industry. Video courtesy of NIWA.

The area covered by the toxic shellfish warning has been extended to include the entire coastline from Whakatane Heads in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, all the way along the coast to Waihi Beach, and up the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula to Opito Bay.

All harbours, estuaries and islands along this coastline are included in the warning.

“The toxic algae species making shellfish poisonous is Alexandrium minutum, which produces the most toxic compounds of the various toxic algal species in New Zealand waters,” explains Jim.

While it’s not known what causes a toxic algal to bloom, Alexandrium minutum has a resting cysts stage which remain in an area after a bloom and, when conditions are right it, reappears.

NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, has produced a video to highlight ocean acidification as a potential issue affecting the New Zealand aquaculture industry.

The video is a direct result of the collaborative New Zealand-United States workshop ’Future proofing New Zealand’s shellfish aquaculture: monitoring and adaptation to ocean acidification’, organised by NIWA, MPI, the Cawthron Institute and US colleagues in December 2013.

Featured in the video are scientists and US and NZ industry representatives, as well as officials from the funding agencies MPI, MBIE and the US Embassy.

While ocean acidification is not directly affecting New Zealand shellfish, experts are warning that now is not the time to be complacent. Watch the video above to find out why.

Comments on SunLive


Posted on 26-01-2015 11:48 | By Cal

"ocean acidification: the facts" is the title of this piece of journalism, then it wades into Alexandrium minutum and paralytic shellfish poisoning and algal blooms - somehow drags out a video about ocean acidification and tries to link the two?? Either this illustrates a desire to TRY and link the two for some bizarre reason OR a complete lack of knowledge on the part of the writer. I fear the latter and it makes me wonder about every other story ever written...are they completely mixed up too?


Posted on 23-01-2015 08:05 | By Wise Chief

I have learned a valuable lesson when doing my best here and then around the world to warn of..what is now fast accelerating Climate Change.More like Mega Death getting warmed up. The lesson is this....Not to throw pearls before swine. U 2 Rastus & Jimmy are fine examples of what JESUS taught of which I was once naive about. Thankfully this no longer the case. Due to the Blue Skys overhead each day it is totally understandable why you two and the majority here believe climate change is somehow not real, but I assure you when you travel the world and speak to many old people as I have ask them whats changed in their lifetimes, everyone of them said the weather.How about you 2 try standing outside in direct sun for a while and see what I mean. Oh an don’t use sunblock and then see what happens.


Posted on 22-01-2015 12:41 | By rastus

Wishcheif - instead of mouthing off - please come up with any proven fact that will substantiate your amazing claims when all scientists know that there has been no warming for over eighteen years - why is that so hard for you to accept

@Wise Chief

Posted on 22-01-2015 05:20 | By Jimmy Ehu

yep we know "Tis Not a Jok".....its you who is the "Jok", keep up the medication man!!!!.


Posted on 21-01-2015 17:50 | By Wise Chief

Obviously you own large cavernous Megamind area above your shoulders if you still seek to ignore latest IPCC/International Panel for Climate Change report.This 3rd 1 states rather matter of factly we are losing planet real quick & truly risking extinction not only of the myriads of wonderful creatures OUR CREATOR/YESHUA/JESUS made but also humanity. Given this country is full of denialist who control government and banks etc & who like yourself choose to remain willfully ignorant despite the overwhelming proof provided. Not only by thousands of Scientist & Engineers etc but also by uneducated villagers in very remote regions of planet who do not have any vested interest other than to survive while ensuring their generations make it. Stink part is The LORD already showed me what will come to pass and you ain’t seen nothing yet. Therefore be afraid little man be very very very afraid.Tis Not a Jok


Posted on 21-01-2015 14:07 | By rastus

This is more of the global warming crap - the latest equipment has been taking accurate measurements and the results show the pH of the seas is constantly changing and it is very convenient isn’t it to tie the toxic Algae to the same subject. The bottom line is that where nature has established an ocean system (as well as a climate system) that despite these awful academics mouthing off has continued to thrive and as long as they keep they’re meddling ideas out of the scene will continue to do so. Beware of these normally unemployable university degree holders - because now they have latched onto another golden goose and believe me there will be far more unprovable crap to come!

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