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Algae blooms close all Coast beaches, oyster reefs

John Fitzhugh/Sun Herald/File
Oyster reefs and beaches across South Mississippi are closed because of algae blooms.
John Fitzhugh/Sun Herald/File Oyster reefs and beaches across South Mississippi are closed because of algae blooms.

BILOXI -- Algae blooms in the Mississippi Sound have closed all beaches and oyster reefs in South Mississippi, according to the state departments of Marine Resources and Environmental Quality.

The decision is a precautionary measure due to the proximity of the potentially harmful algae blooms.

MDEQ issued a preemptive closure for all Coast beaches, because of the possibility of respiratory problems and irritations to the eyes, nose, skin and throat.

"We're erring on the side of public safety," DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller said. "Algae blooms are unusual in this area and at this time of year, but we want to make sure residents are safe."

The following oyster reefs will close:

Area I "B" Conditionally Approved Waters, which includes St. Joseph's or St. Joe Reef.

Area II "A" Conditionally Approved Waters, which includes northern portions of the Pass Christian and Henderson Point reefs and Hornets reef.

Area II "B" Conditionally Approved Waters, which includes St. Stanislaus and Waveland reefs.

Area II "D" Conditionally Approved Waters, which includes the public reefs in the Bay of St. Louis between the U.S. 90 bridge and the CSX Railroad bridge.

Area II "E" Conditionally Approved Waters, which includes Square Handkerchief reef and southern portions of Henderson Point Reef.

Area II "F" Conditionally Approved Waters, which includes southern portions of the Pass Christian Reef.

The reefs will remain closed until further notice, and all other rules and regulations will remain in effect.

DMR scientists will be sampling the water, and oyster reefs will reopen as soon as the samples indicate appropriate harvest conditions.

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