October 21, 2020

State closes nine Gulf Coast beaches closed due to harmful algae

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), through its Beach Monitoring Program, issued additional closures Monday for five beaches in Harrison County due to a blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) extending into that area. An algal bloom is the rapid growth of algae on the surface of the water. The closures issued June 22 for the four stations in Hancock County remain in effect. Sampling in the Pass Christian Harbor and the Long Beach Harbor also indicate the presence of an HAB.

MDEQ advises people, and their pets, to avoid water contact such as swimming or wading because exposure to the blue-green HAB can be harmful. The closures refer to water contact and do not prohibit use of the sand portion of a beach.

The additional stations closed Monday are:

Station 5 – Pass Christian West Beach
Station 6 – Pass Christian Central Beach
Station 7 – Pass Christian East Beach
Station 7A – Long Beach Beach
Station 10 – Gulfport Central Beach
The four stations closed in Hancock County are:

Station 1 – Lakeshore Beach
Station 2 – Buccaneer State Park Beach
Station 3 – Waveland Beach
Station 4 – Bay St. Louis Beach
The algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. MDEQ advises that those exposed wash with soap and water and to not eat fish or any other seafood taken from affected areas.

All other beaches along the Mississippi Gulf Coast remain open. MDEQ will resume sampling Tuesday, and this advisory may be revised as results dictate. The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources analyzed the samples for MDEQ, and the two agencies are working together examining the HAB situation.