The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health in New Brunswick is issuing a blue-green algae advisory for the Saint John River between Woodstock and Fredericton.

“Due to the presentation of blue-green algae in the form of benthic mats in the river, and a thorough risk assessment, we are adding the Saint John River between Woodstock and Fredericton to the advisory list. This advisory confirms that blue-green algae is known to form blooms or mats in this area,” said Dr. Cristin Muecke, deputy chief medical officer of health.

Blue-green algae are a natural component of New Brunswick’s aquatic ecosystems but, under certain conditions, can increase in numbers to form surface blooms which can appear blue-green, green, red, brown or yellow in colour.

The government advises pet owners that algae mats along the shore of lakes and rivers can also be toxic and particularly harmful to dogs. Dogs are attracted to their odour and should not be permitted to eat vegetation or floating mats, as they can be lethal if consumed. As a precaution, children should not be allowed to play with them.

“While enjoying any recreational water, there are always things you can do to help protect yourself,” said Muecke. “Algal blooms can be unpredictable, so it is important that people always check the water before entering. If a bloom is present, it is recommended that you avoid swimming or engaging in other activities that may involve contact with the water.”

The government supports various blue-green algae research projects through the Environmental Trust Fund. These projects, which are underway in the Saint John River and several lakes in the province, are intended to build a better understanding of the distribution of blue-green algae and their toxins.

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