[Coral-List] ciguatera, teh epidemic, 1 in 4 islanders poisoned, eco catastrophe to coral reefs by HAB toxins

Katherine Ross katherine.ross4 at gmail.com
Sun Apr 14 18:52:01 EDT 2013

And not to distract further from the many reasons why there should be no
port construction in the GBR, the Australian government maintains mandatory
ballast water management requirements, which include a open ocean exchange
of ballast water before entering Australian waters. This is administered by
the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service, and there is some good info
on their website.

On Apr 15, 2013 6:24 AM, "Keven Reed" <reedkc at comcast.net> wrote:

> Dear coral listers:
>     Not to distract from the main theme or important thoughts in Mark
> Skinner's post below, I want to impart what I believe is a more accurate
> description of the relative extreme potency of most ciguatoxins.  While
> ciguatoxin is amazingly poisonous, probably a thousand times more potent
> that Sarin gas in terms of micrograms or tenths of a microgram per kilogram
> in a mouse bioassay, the statement below "(Gambierdiscus produces
> Ciguatoxin, the most potent biotoxin known to man)" may be a bit hyperbolic.
>     I believe the natural neurotoxin found in the bacterium Clostridium is
> probably 100 to a thousand times more lethal than ciguatoxin, as botulinum
> LD50 is measured in humans or mice in nanograms per kg of body weight, not
> tenths of micrograms as in ciguatoxin assays.  The LD50 for humans of
> botulinum is an IV or intramuscular injection of approximately 1.5 to 2.0
> nanograms per kilogram of body weight.
> Respectfully,
> Dr. Keven C. Reed
> Fleming Island, Florida
> mobile:  904-505-7277
>   ----- Original Message -----
>   From: mark skinner
>   To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>   Sent: Tuesday, April 09, 2013 1:08 AM
>   Subject: [Coral-List] ciguatera, teh epidemic, 1 in 4 islanders
> poisoned,eco catastrophe to coral reefs by HAB toxins
>   Please distribute to your organisation and colleagues:
>   The Ciguatera fish poisoning epidemic in Oceania, the coral reef eco
> catastrophe &
>   Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) travel via shipping ballast to mining ports..
>   It should be of great concern that as the Australian mining industry
> expands; new ports (i.e. Abbott point on the GBR, James Price Point in the
> Kimberly’s) are built in vulnerable ecosystems. A large number of ships
> travelling from Asia, will change their boat ballast and cause toxic
> harmful(eg Pyrodinium, a microalgae produces paralytic shellfish toxin, has
> killed over 150 people in the Philippines and responsible for marine fauna
> kills in the Solomon Is.) algae to spread, impacting habitats that have may
> have no natural predators to these toxic bio-invasives.
>   The most well-known of HABs are red tides, as one example was witnessed
> recently (Noctulica, impacting biodiversity with high concentrations of
> ammonia) on Sydney’s beaches and Alexandrium (producing the shellfish
> poisoning toxin saitotoxin) that has closed the shellfish beds on the east
> coast of Tasmania and Botany Bay. Then there are also HABs related to
> seafood poisonings of humans, including the many types of shellfish
> poisoning, (DSP, ASP, PSP etc) and ciguatera fish poisoning. The impact of
> toxic HABs on marine tropical ecosystem health remains understudied. There
> have been marine fauna (including fish, turtles, seabirds, seals,
> cetaceans) kills from the temperate coasts of North America to lagoons of
> the tropical Solomon Islands, which have been directly and indirectly
> attributed to HABs.
>   A danger overlooked by the coral reef scientists are those ciguatera
> (please see my paper in PLOS NTD:
> http://www.plosntds.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10..1371%2Fjournal.pntd.0001416) fish poisoning toxic microalgae (Gambierdiscus produces Ciguatoxin, the
> most potent biotoxin known to man) th that has produced an epidemic in the
> Pacific Island nations, some of which are already upon the GBR (Ostreopsis
> produces a palytoxin, responsible for killing sea turtles?). Seventeen
> nations of the Pacific have been impacted with ciguatera fish poisoning,
> due to coral reef degradation and consequential benthic HABs, including
> toxic cyanobacteria, to the extent that one in four islanders have been
> poisoned in recent times (approx. 500,000 in 30 years) and also capable of
> travelling in the ballast water from their points of origin. The sublethal
> impacts upon humans, of benthic HAB toxins, including Oxadaic Acid (from
> Prorocentrum, see “Fire in the Turtle House”), a
>    tumor promoter, has barely been studied.
>   For the many reasons that such mining ports should not be built; even
> the dredging of estuaries can provide, through suspension of bacteria,
> minerals and nutrients, more habitats capable of supporting HABs. The
> impact of exotic HABs arriving in boat ballast and their ability to move
> further afield, spreading via currents, eddies and storms alongside
> coastlines should be seen as an unforseen danger, which could lead to the
> ruination of our natural marine heritage, not accustomed to such HABs.
>   Of a major concern in this scenario, the Boat Ballast Convention of 2004
> as created by the International Maritime Organisation has not been
> ratified, so what safe guards are in place to prevent toxic HABs travelling
> from Asian seas in the boat ballast of mining cargo vessels? For the many
> reasons that such mining developments, requiring new ports, should not go
> ahead (from impacting whale calving grounds, the drop in price of
> resources, the stripping of this countries resources, with no reserves!),
> the use of proven safe guards to stop HABs surviving in mining boat ballast
> and the ratification of the 2004 Boat Ballast Convention, also needs to be
> addressed. An eco catastrophe of the tropical coral reef environment, due
> to HABs is occurring, with ciguatera as a bio-indicator!
>   Mark Skinner (UQ)
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