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Report of Algal Conditions in NJ Coastal Waters by Date


Phytoplankton Monitoring
Phyto Map
Phytoplankton 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 on.

The 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.

The 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 can help...

If 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.

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2017
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: February 3, 2017

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