Knysna red tide threat diminished, expert says

2014-01-15 11:36
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town – The threat of red tide at the Knysna estuary has diminished according to a local expert.

"The cells are no longer active," Professor Brian Allanson of the Knysna Basin Project told News24, indicating that the bloom has degraded significantly.

Additional water samples were collected from three areas in the Knysna estuary after fishermen were told not to fish for shellfish and mussels earlier this month.

Previous samples indicated the presence of a phytoplankton bloom.

The Marine and Coastal Management Guideline from the Department of Environmental Affairs describes phytoplankton as microscopic, single-celled organisms which form the basis of food chains through their photosynthetic ability.

The three types of red tide organisms are dinoflagellates, diatoms, and ciliates.

In certain conditions upwelling by ocean currents lift the organisms to the surface where the ideal conditions of temperature and light trigger their germination.

The dinoflagellate is responsible for Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) which produces toxins which could be harmful to humans through consumption of seafood.

SANParks has requested that the public remain cautious in the event of any possible re-occurrence.

Read more on:    sanparks  |  cape town  |  marine life

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