Members of the community attend a forum about red tide caused by Karenia brevis during a large and prolonged bloom that occurred off Southwest Florida in 2006. The forum was sponsored by Mote Marine Laboratory, which partners with Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute to monitor blooms along the state’s Gulf Coast.

Members of the community attend a forum about red tide caused by Karenia brevis during a large and prolonged bloom that occurred off Southwest Florida in 2006. The forum was sponsored by Mote Marine Laboratory, which partners with Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute to monitor blooms along the state’s Gulf Coast.

The GCOOS-RA are pleased to announce the completion of the Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System (HABIOS) Plan. This plan is the summation of three Harmful Algal Bloom workshops sponsored by GCOOS with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance attended by numerous stakeholders and systems managers.

The goal of the HABIOS plan is to establish a sustained observing system, as part of the U.S. IOOS, to support and enhance HAB management and monitoring and to reduce and mitigate the detrimental effects that HABs have on human health, living marine organisms and coastal communities.

While the Gulf includes multiple systems operated by state, federal and local agencies and researchers to monitor and forecast HAB movements and oceanographic conditions that influence their frequency, distribution and fate, these systems tend to operate independently. User communities and system managers have identified critical deficiencies that can be addressed through the development of a more comprehensive and integrated approach — hence the new HABIOS plan. Through the plan, we expect to detect HABs more rapidly and provide more accurate and timely predictions of potential impacts.

We thank all the stakeholders who contributed to both the workshops and to this final report.

The report can be downloaded at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/documents/HABIOSPlan-Sept2015.pdf.