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The demand for seafood as part of a healthy diet, combined with globalization of trade and tourism, expands the geographic boundaries for human exposure and subsequent illness as well as those of economic losses beyond historically affected coastal communities.  The economic and public health impacts of HABs can be profound.

Many millions of dollars are spent annually addressing the known HAB-related impacts on public health, commercial fisheries, recreation, tourism, environmental monitoring, and bloom management.  Public health impacts account for the largest economic impacts, followed by commercial fisheries and tourism.  Even one HAB can be extremely costly.  The hidden costs to secondary industries (e.g. food processing or aquaculture suppliers), human illness (e.g. medical care for undiagnosed or chronic illnesses), and decline in consumer confidence (e.g. failure to purchase seafood in restaurants or reserve fishing charter trips) remain unknown.


Examples of Socioeconomic Impacts:


NOAA has developed an interactive story map "Hitting us where it hurts: The untold story of harmful algal blooms" that documents the economic and social impacts of harmful algal blooms. It is based on a compilation of data from almost 40 events, but even so, our understanding and quantification of socioeconomic impacts of HABs remains incomplete.