independent

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Algal bloom at beaches pose no threat to health

David Tucker

THERE were several reports of algal bloom at County Wexford Beaches last week but the council said 'there was no issue for human health'.

THERE were several reports of algal bloom at County Wexford Beaches last week but the council said 'there was no issue for human health'.

'We believe it to be an algal bloom which is occurring over much of the east coast of Ireland,' said a spokesperson for the council's environment section.

'Our scientists have taken samples and sent them to the Marine Institute for analysis,' he said, adding that the algal bloom is believed to be similar to the one which occurred in late May 2010

The Marine Institute said it was monitoring the situation but said no adverse affects had been reported other than the production, in some cases, of excessive foam, murky water and sometimes the production of noxious odours when dense blooms are breaking down.

'The blooms usually disappear within a week or so in Irish waters and this breakdown is as sudden as their appearance,' it said.

The bloom was detected two weeks ago using satellite images and information provided by the Environmental Protection Agency and Wexford County Council.

The Marine Institute has analysed a number of samples from the bloom and has identified the species as Phaeocystis pouchetii , a common species that has caused blooms along the east coast several times in previous years. The species causes discolouration of the water, and foaming on the beach in windy conditions.

Mr. Joe Silke, Marine Environment and Food Safety Services at the Marine Institute, emphasised that the species is not directly harmful to humans either through swimming or from consuming fish that have been exposed to the bloom. The beaches remain safe despite any discolouration of water.

However, the production of foam, and in some extreme cases anoxia, can result in marine organism mortalities. Fish mortalities caused by this particular species in previous Irish blooms have not been observed, as wild fish tend to avoid the bloom.

Wexford People

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