Toxic algae blooms have never been worse in Lake Erie, and the situation is threatening fish and tourism, Ohio officials said.
Analyses show numbers of walleye and yellow perch — the lake’s most-lucrative sport-fish species — drop significantly as the level of algae rises, and that affects the lake’s $10 billion annual tourism industry, The Columbus Dispatch reported .
Algae blooms are fed by phosphorous, which has been above safe levels, Roger Knight, program administrator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said in a report presented Wednesday to the Lake Erie Commission in Columbus.
Increased farm fertilizer runoff because of record rainfall is one reason for the higher phosphorous levels. Knight said.
Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, are common in most Ohio lakes and grow thick in water polluted with phosphorus from fertilizer, manure and sewage washed into streams by rain.