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Fishing and swimming warning issued amid red tide presence in UAE, regional waters

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on January 25, 2018 | Last updated on January 25, 2018 at 05.29 am
Fishing and swimming warning issued amid red tide presence in UAE, regional waters

(Supplied)

Ministry noted that no harmful phytoplankton that causes the death of fish and other marine species has been observed.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has issued a warning against fishing and swimming in the areas alongside the economic zone overlooking the west coast of the Arabian Gulf and the eastern coast of the Gulf of Oman.

Following a notification from Ras Al Khaimah Environmental Protection and Development Authority, the ministry announced on Wednesday that it has observed biological activity in the form of chlorophyll pigments in the local waters. This indicates the presence of phytoplankton, commonly known as algal bloom or red tide, in the areas alongside the economic zone overlooking the west coast of the Arabian Gulf and the eastern coast of the Gulf of Oman.

In line with the National Plan for Red Tide Management that ensures an immediate response in such events, the Ministry is coordinating satellite monitoring of the marine environment in cooperation with the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment. Satellite images have shown that the biological activity extended to the Indian Ocean and adjacent countries.

As certain types of phytoplankton can make marine organisms poisonous to humans, the Ministry urges fishermen and beachgoers to refrain from fishing and collecting shellfish for consumption in the areas of red tide. In addition, people with allergies are asked to avoid swimming in affected waters.

A team of specialists from MOCCAE has been collecting and analyzing water samples from various coastal areas of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman to identify the types of phytoplankton present. The results indicate a limited algal bloom in green and brown colors that takes the form of unstable patches and consists of a mixture of phytoplankton species with relatively low biomass.

The Ministry noted that no harmful phytoplankton that causes the death of fish and other marine species has been observed. 

The algal bloom is the result of climate change and ensuing rise in seawater temperature. Other causes include the movement of sea currents and seasonal wind activity.

The Ministry employs latest technologies, such as remote sensors, satellite imagery and digital modelling to locate a red tide and to predict its occurrence to take precautionary measures to reduce its adverse effects.





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