Algal blooms off UK coast blamed on fertilisers and global warming

Overuse of nitrogen and phosphates-rich fertilisers by UK farmers is worrying The Environment Agency for England and Wales and Ospar, the body charged with monitoring ocean quality for the EU. This summer's blooms off the south west English coast and shellfish pollution on the west coast of Scotland has highlighted the problem.

Although the bloom off Devon and Cornwall – stretching some 100 miles in length and going 20 miles into the Channel – involves the harmless emiliana huxleyi algae, another bloom at Fal Estuary is dangerous. This bloom consists of alexandrium tamarense algae, known to cause paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans.

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