METAIRIE, La. (WGNO) — The Louisiana State Health Department (LSDH) is warning everyone to avoid algae blooms in Lake Pontchartrain. LSDH officials say the algae can produce dangerous toxins, and blue-green algae is particularly dangerous.
“I’ve noticed all the water across the lake is green and full of algae,” said fisherman Talan Melancon.
Melancon has definitely noticed the toxic blue-green algae, known as ‘cyanobacteria,’ on Lake Pontchartrain.
“It kind of just looks like a layer of cloth, but it is just algae across the whole thing, like floating cloth around,” he said.
The algae is making it extremely difficult for him to get fish to bite.
“Fish diet’s change because of it, and they stop biting and it is really hard to catch them,” Melancon said.
He went on to say, “I’ve been out here for a couple of hours, and you think you’ll catch something, and then absolutely nothing.”
But something is causing the algae problem.
“When you have the warmer winters because of La Niña, two seasons of warmer waters,” Lucia Ross with BlueGreen Water Technologies said.
Ross went on to say, “The algae reproduces exponentially with these conditions, a lot of nutrients, excessive sunlight, warmer weather, multiplies every five hours, so a bloom that starts off small one day, overnight it can grow to billions and billions of cyanobacteria cells.”
Scientists say the algae can be dangerous.
“You need to make sure if you know that the water is contaminated, don’t go near the water. Don’t allow your dogs or your children to play in the water because it can be fatal if ingested.”
Still for Talan because of the algae, a summer day of Gon’ Fishing is just well…gone!
“This algae is just messing everything up. As far as I know, I can’t do anything about it, but I hope it goes away soon,” he said.
Scientists say it is best to stay off the water if it smells like rotten eggs and if you can see foam or scum on the surface.