Report finds hypoxia increasing


  • Randy Showstack


The occurrence of hypoxia is increasing in coastal waters worldwide and represents a significant threat to the health and economy of U.S. coasts and the Great Lakes, according to a 3 September report issued by the U.S. Interagency Working Group on Harmful Algal Blooms, Hypoxia, and Human Health. The report found that the incidence of hypoxia—low dissolved oxygen that can negatively affect fish and other aquatic species—has increased tenfold globally in the past 50 years and almost thirtyfold in the United States since 1960.

Noting that federal research programs are addressing many aspects of eutrophication, enrichment, and hypoxia, the report indicates, “Despite decades of research, however, management efforts to reduce nutrients—particularly from nonpoint sources—and their adverse impacts on coastal ecosystems have not made significant headway, in part due to increased development and population in coastal watersheds.”