By Talbert Toole
All beaches on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are now closed to the public, officials said.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality issued a statement Sunday, June 7, that two additional Mississippi beaches—Pascagoula Beach West and Pascagoula Beach East—are now closed due to a blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) extending into those areas. The contaminants in the waters have resulted in the closure of all the state’s beaches.
MDEQ initially announced on June 24 the closing of nine beaches in Harrison, Hancock Jackson counties because sampling indicated those waters tested positive for the algae. Those closures are still in effect until further notice from the department.
The agency 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.
LOU residents should reconsider visiting the Mississippi Coast for vacation due to the algae’s harmful side effects to both humans and pets until the situation is resolved.
Side effects from making contact with HAB could cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, the MDEQ reports.
If exposed to HAB, MDEQ advises to thoroughly wash with soap. The agency also advises to not eat fish or any other seafood that could have been affected by the algae.
The additional stations closed Sunday are:
Station 19 — Pascagoula Beach West
Station 20 — Pascagoula Beach East
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 11 – Gulfport East Beach
Station 11A – Edgewater Beach
Station 12A – Biloxi West Central Beach
Station 12B – Biloxi East Central Beach
Station 13A – Gulfport Harbor Beach
Station 14 – Front Beach
Station 15 – Shearwater Beach
MDEQ advises the public to be aware of their surroundings and to 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,” MDEQ stated.
In the statement by MDEQ, it stated the department is working with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources in the algae situation.
For more information and location of sampling stations along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, visit the Mississippi Beach Monitoring Program.