are microscopic plants that float in State's coastal waters. Under
normal conditions, they are beneficial and are the base
of the food chain that most other marine life depends
Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring (BMWM) monitors phytoplankton
assemblages and looks for the presence of blooms
each summer in New Jersey's coastal waters and major estuaries
as part of the State's compliance with the National Shellfish
Sanitation Program (NSSP). The National Shellfish Sanitation
Program requires that each coastal state develop a contingency
plan that includes control measures for marine biotoxins.
Filter-feeding molluscan shellfish, known as bivalves
(clams, oysters, and mussels) are capable of accumulating
toxins that may be produced by certain algal species.
The phytoplankton-monitoring program provides surveillance
of shellfish growing areas for possible toxin-producing
algal species, which are identified and enumerated along
with other phytoplankton present.
primary purpose of this program is to ensure that shellfish
harvested in New Jersey are not toxic for human consumption
due to the presence of certain phytoplankton known to
produce toxins. However, algal blooms may have other harmful
effects including marine fauna kills, mild toxicity to
bathers and reduced aesthetic quality. This information
is obtained cooperatively with the US Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) Region II during their summer New York Bight
Water Quality helicopter survey.
The BMWM has also implemented an aircraft remote sensing program for estimating chlorophyll levels in NJ coastal waters. This program provides a valuable perspective on algal conditions and trends. Check back soon for the latest Photoplankton Monitoring Report.
you have observed discolored coastal water within the
past week, note the location (longitude & latitude
if possible), date and time that you made the observation,
general description of the location and contact
us with that information.