A toxic algae bloom has forced all 21 of the state's Gulf coast beaches to close.
Going into the water could cause rashes, The toxic algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, the state agency warned. Pascagoula’s two beach testing sites joined the list Sunday morning. A water contact advisory from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality also remains in effect for a segment of the Jourdan River in Hancock County from the I-10 bridge to the mouth of the river into St. Louis Bay. The toxic algae has also been found in sampling taken at the Pass Christian Harbor, the Bay St. Louis Harbor, and the Long Beach Harbor. People should avoid water contact or consumption of anything from the waters "until further notice."
Blooms can be caused by a variety of factors, including increases in nutrient levels from fertilizer run-off, low water flows, changes in water temperature or changes in ocean currents. Toxic algae blooms are detrimental to the health of the people and marine ecosystems, as well as local coastal economies who rely on revenue from fishing and tourism.