"U.S. Coasts Plagued by Record Algae Levels"

"Large swaths of toxic algae have punished U.S. coastal towns at record levels this year, shutting down shellfish harvests and sickening swimmers from Maine to Texas to Seattle.

The algal blooms stretch for hundreds of miles in some areas in a phenomenon known as "red tides" and give off toxins that sicken fish and birds and can cause paralysis in humans, said Wayne Litaker, a research scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ... Overfishing and global warming also may contribute to their widespread growth ...."

Rick Jervis reports for USA TODAY December 15, 2009.

Source: USA TODAY, 12/16/2009