Australia beaches reopen after red algal bloom

2012-11-30 11:04

((William West, AFP))

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Sydney – Beaches around southeastern Australia's coastline reopened on Friday after a red algal bloom that glowed a phosphorescent blue at night forced them to close to the public.

The algae, noctiluca scintillans, forced swimmers and surfers out of the water at Sydney's Bondi and a number of neighbouring beaches earlier this week, and it spread along the fringes of two states.

One of the worst affected beaches, Clovelly in Sydney, reopened on Friday, just in time for a predicted heatwave over the weekend.

"There is no sign of the red algal bloom that kept the beach closed from Tuesday to Thursday this week," the local council said, a sentiment echoed by other councils along the city's northern beaches.

"It is now safe to swim, at the moment," a Surf Life Saving NSW official told reporters.

"We'll continue to monitor the situation."

Aerial footage shot over parts of New South Wales and neighbouring Victoria state showed huge blooms of the oily red to pink scum this week, which has a fishy odour and can irritate the skin and eyes but is not dangerous to humans.

One of the most striking features was the way it glowed blue at night, earning it the nickname "sea sparkle".

The Sydney South Coast and Hunter Regional Algal Co-ordinating Committees said the blooms typically occur as a result of currents bringing cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface.

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