Species within the class Raphidophyceae were associated with fish kill events in Japanese, European, Canadian, and U.S. coastal waters. Fish mortality was attributable to gill damage with exposure to reactive oxygen species (peroxide, superoxide, and hydroxide radicals), neurotoxins, physical clogging, and hemolytic substances. Morphological identification of these organisms in environmental water samples is difficult, particularly when fixatives are used. Because of this difficulty and the continued global emergence of these species in coastal estuarine waters, we initiated the development and validation of a suite of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. Sequencing was used to generate complete data sets for nuclear encoded small-subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA; 18S); internal transcribed spacers 1 and 2, 5.8S; and plastid encoded SSU rRNA (16S) for confirmed raphidophyte cultures from various geographic locations. Sequences for several Chattonella species (C. antiqua, C. marina, C. ovata, C. subsalsa, and C. verruculosa), Heterosigma akashiwo, and Fibrocapsa japonica were generated and used to design rapid and specific PCR assays for several species including C. verruculosa Hara et Chihara, C. subsalsa Biecheler, the complex comprised of C. marina Hara et Chihara, C. antiqua Ono and C. ovata, H. akashiwo Ono, and F. japonica Toriumi et Takano using appropriate loci. With this comprehensive data set, we were also able to perform phylogenetic analyses to determine the relationship between these species.