Bay red tide to disappear soon

The red tide spread along the Nelson Mandela Bay coastline may be toxic, but is not expected to stick around long enough to pose any real danger to beachgoers.

NMMU’s Coastal and Marine Research (CMR) unit confirmed the brown-red algal bloom spotted earlier this week, stretching from Bird Island to Seaview, contained the same species of plankton, Lingulodinium polyedrum, that plagued Algoa Bay in 2014.

This species was mildly toxic and eating shellfish that had ingested large numbers of these cells could make people sick. However, no such incidents had been reported yet, CMR director Dr Derek du Preez said.

“Swimming in the water containing the cells won’t cause any problems for humans.”

The red tide should dissipate within the next few days, according to Dr Tommy Bornman, manager of the Elwandle node for the South African Environmental Observation Network, based at NMMU.

“The red tide does contain toxic species of plankton, but it is quite shallow. With the cold and windy weather conditions predicted for the weekend the bloom should be completely gone in a few days’ time.”

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