Toxin from vast algae bloom off West Coast found in dead or dying marine animals as far north as Washington

SEATTLE (AP) — Federal biologists say tests on dead or dying marine wildlife show the animals were exposed to a vast bloom of toxic algae off the West Coast.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a neurotoxin produced by the algae, known as domoic acid, was detected in about three dozen animals from Washington to California. Several of them showed dangerous levels of the neurotoxin.

Sea lions in California commonly experienced seizures and deaths during harmful algae blooms along that coast.

But NOAA biologist Kathi Lefebvre says this was the first year that such harmful effects were found as far north as Washington state. She's concern it could happen again.

The toxic algae bloom that emerged last spring was the largest recorded on the West Coast and shut down lucrative fisheries.