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Report Reveals Algae Toxins in Fish

US - The Karuk Tribe in California has issued a fresh report showing that a popular game fish in PacifiCorps Klamath River reservoirs is being contaminated by the algal toxin microcystin.

The algae Microcystis aeruginosa produces the toxin microcystin, which causes liver damage and promotes tumor growth, according to a news release from the tribe.

The tribe’s report, based on toxicological analyses performed by state agencies and paid for by the federal government, concludes that health officials should warn the public not to eat fish from the reservoirs during the summer months when algae blooms are at their height.

The report follows a series of reports, including one made last summer showing excessive amounts of algae in the Klamath River.

The study taken last summer concluded that water samples from Copco and Iron Gate Reservoirs contained extremely high levels of the toxic blue-green algae Microcystis aeruginosa for the third consecutive year since monitoring began in 2005.

The California Department of Fish and Game’s report “Microcystin Bioaccumulation in Klamath River Fish and Freshwater Mussel Tissue: Preliminary 2007 Results” shows that during summer months when the algae blooms are present, the toxin was found in the tissue of yellow perch from Iron Gate and Copco reservoirs and freshwater mussels in the Klamath River, according to the Karuk Tribe news release.

Ellen Hardy

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