Blooms of Alexandrium species, in particular the species Alexandrium catenella, accounted for more than 50% of algal related, shellfish aquaculture harvest zone closures in New South Wales (NSW) Australia since 2005. While there are indications that species of Alexandrium are more abundant than they were formerly, there is little data available on the spatial and temporal distribution and abundance of the genus in NSW. A six and a half year dataset comprising a total of 8649 fortnightly samples from 31 estuaries spread over 2000. km of NSW coastline was analysed. The greatest abundances of Alexandrium spp. were observed during the austral Spring and Summer, in estuaries in the mid and southern latitudes of the state. In identifying these high risk zones, we propose variables such as season, temperature, rainfall and estuarine flushing to be targeted in intensive site specific studies, to support the development of predictive tools for resource managers.
- Harmful algal blooms
- Paralytic shellfish toxins