Seen from above, the Mississippi River carries sediment into the Gulf of Mexico. That sediment often contains pollutants from fertilizers that cause a spike in algal blooms.

Nine beaches across Harrison and Hancock counties are closed until further notice due to a blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB), according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

An HAB occurs when “colonies of algae grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The human illnesses caused by HABs, though rare, can be debilitating or even fatal,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The sand beach is open for sun bathing, however, beach-goers are asked to avoid contact with the water, according to the MDEQ.

“No swim” signs have been placed outside of the effected areas.

The beaches include...

Harrison County

Station 5 – Pass Christian West Beach

Station 6 – Pass Christian Central Beach

Station 7 – Pass Christian East Beach

Station 7A – Long Beach Beach

Station 10 – Gulfport Central Beach

Hancock County

Station 1 – Lakeshore Beach

Station 2 – Buccaneer State Park Beach

Station 3 – Waveland Beach

Station 4 – Bay St. Louis Beach

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