October 26, 2020

More Gulf Coast beaches closed due to algae, 19 total beach areas affected

State officials closed tree more Mississippi Gulf Coast beaches Wednesday due to presence of harmful algae. The latest closures mean all 19 beaches from Waveland in the west to Biloxi in the east are closed.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) issued additional closures for three beach stations (Stations 11, 12B, and 13A) in Harrison County due to a blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) extending into those areas.

The previous closures issued for 16 other beach stations in Hancock County, Harrison County, and Jackson County remain in effect. Sampling in the Pass Christian Harbor, the Bay St. Louis Harbor, and the Long Beach Harbor has also indicated the presence of an HAB.

The additional stations closed Wednesday are:

Station 11 – Gulfport East Beach
Station 12B – Biloxi East Central Beach
Station 13A – Gulfport Harbor Beach

Closures remain in effect for:
Station 1 – Lakeshore Beach
Station 2 – Buccaneer State Park Beach
Station 3 – Waveland Beach
Station 4 – Bay St. Louis Beach
Station 5 – Pass Christian West Beach
Station 6 – Pass Christian Central Beach
Station 7 – Pass Christian East Beach
Station 7A – Long Beach Beach
Station 8 – Gulfport West Beach
Station 9 – Gulfport Harbor Beach
Station 10 – Gulfport Central Beach
Station 10B – East Courthouse Road Beach
Station 11A – Edgewater Beach
Station 12A – Biloxi West Central Beach
Station 14 – Front Beach
Station 15 – Shearwater Beach

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 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.

MDEQ also issued a water contact advisory July 2 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. MDEQ recommends that people avoid water contact such as swimming, wading, and fishing. People should also avoid eating fish or anything else taken from these waters until further notice. MDEQ encourages the public to be aware of their surroundings and notify the agency and/or local emergency management officials if they see HAB in other sections of the river or anywhere else on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. An algal bloom is the rapid growth of algae on the surface of the water.