Media Release: Public Red Tide Advisory Against the Consumption of any Shellfish or Washed-Up Marine Species along the Garden Route District Coastline
For Immediate Release
16 January 2024
Public reports were received regarding a red tide phenomenon in the coastal waters along the Garden Route district coastline. Reports received from residents at various coastal locations, indicates that the following areas along the coast are affected:
Storms River Mouth, Plettenberg Bay, Swartvlei Beach, Kleinkrantz, Wilderness, Glentana, and Vleesbaai situated in Mossel Bay.
As a precautionary measure, the Garden Route District Municipality’s Disaster Management Centre is advising the public to refrain from consuming any shellfish or washed up marine species due to the emergence of this red tide.
Marine water samples have been taken by the George Municipality to identify the species of microscopic algae that is causing the red tide, but for now it looks like the species Noctiluca scintillans, which is a planktonic dinoflagellate that can cause bioluminescence at night and taint surface water reddish-orange.
Residents along the Garden Route district coastline are advised against consuming any shellfish or washed-up marine life due to the recent emergence of a red tide phenomenon. Image: iStock
What are red tides?
Red tides are a natural phenomenon in coastal waters and are caused by a dense accumulation of microscopic algae. The algae species Noctiluca scintillans are not thought to be harmful to humans, but it is advisable to avoid eating any washed-up marine life and to avoid collecting bivalves (oysters, clams, and mussels) until the strain has been identified. The presence of algae blooms is linked to eutrophication, which is a process involving the enrichment of water with nutrients, often stemming from agricultural runoff during rainy periods.
The current red tide display is anticipated to persist for several days. Ongoing analysis and monitoring of the situation is prioritised to ensure public safety during this natural event. Further information will be available once the water sample test results are released.
Feature Image: Residents along the Garden Route district coastline are advised against consuming any shellfish or washed-up marine life due to the emergence of a red tide phenomenon.