Algal blooms menace Pacific, Channel coasts

Recent news confirms the suspicions of hydrophobics everywhere: the oceans are revolting. Last month, the Anchorage Daily News reported a vast flotilla of marine gunk, the likes of which had never before been seen by residents. A “thick, dark, and gooey” mass drifted across the Arctic ocean, indiscriminately sullying pristine snowbound coasts and emerald icebergs alike in its inexorable advance toward Anchorage.

“It kind of has an odor; I can’t describe it,” a visibly shaken Petty Officer 1st Class Terry Hasenauer told the ADN.

During its landward march, the disgusting slime has drawn to its deathly bosom several jellyfish and a goose, the latter reduced to a mere tangle of bones and feathers.

Samples of the terrifying seafaring mass were sent to a local laboratory for analysis. Peering down the microscope, Ed Meggert of the Department of Environmental Conservation in Fairbanks, AK, identified it as “marine algae,” to a chorus of sighs of relief from the local fishing population.

“Had it been petroleum, then we really would have had our work cut out for us,” said Terry Whitledge, director of the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska.

Nevertleless, Alaska Natives resident in the region claim never before to have seen its like; green and red algae are not unheard of, but “black, viscous gunk” is ominously unprecedented. The colour could perhaps be attributed to decomposition, Whitledge mused.

The filthy maritime ooze has thusfar proved innocuous, unlike a similar phenomenon presently soiling the coast of Brittany.

Decomposing piles of Ulva lactuca recently washed up on Breton shores have already claimed the life of a horse whose rider narrowly escaped suffocation. The equid’s death is attributed to hydrogen sulphide fumes, inadvertently released from the rotting tangle by the passage of the animal’s hooves.

Many of Brittany’s beaches have been closed by French authorities for fear that unsuspecting holidaymakers will plunge into a noxious pothole of their own manufacture.

Alain Menesguen, director of research at the French Institute for Sea Research and Exploitation told BBC News: “When you walk into the crust of such accumulation, you make a hole in a reservoir of hydrogen sulphide, and this gas is very toxic.”

“It can make animals or people unable to breathe, so you can die in less than a minute.”

Algal blooms, as any A-Level biology student will know, are frequently attributed to NPK fertiliser run-off from intensively-farmed arable land. Excess nitrates encourage the runaway growth of algae, which rapidly consume all solute oxygen, creating “dead zones” otherwise devoid of aquatic life.

So think twice before accepting your government’s claims that ‘organically’-grown produce provides no health advantages.

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One Response to Algal blooms menace Pacific, Channel coasts

  1. […] squid menace Pacific coast Back in July 2009, when I reported on the Anchorage Horror, a correspondent alerted me to another terrifying invasion that menaced the Pacific coast of the […]

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