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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Saadiyat Beach safe for swimmers again after red tide closure

Red tide has now cleared, according to Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi

An aerial image of an algal bloom patch taken from an aquaplane on the Dubai coast several years ago.
An aerial image of an algal bloom patch taken from an aquaplane on the Dubai coast several years ago.

Saadiyat Beach has been declared safe for swimming again, days after a harmful algal bloom was found in the sea surrounding the island.

Authorities closed the beach to swimmers on Sunday after the discovery of the red tide.

A red tide is the name given to a natural phenomenon which occurs when a species of algae called dinoflagellates grow out of control.

Dinoflagellates contain pigments that vary in colour from brown to red during the day — giving them their name — but they can appear luminescent at night — as happened in California last week when waves containing a red tide glowed as they broke on the shore off the coast of San Diego.

There are thousands of species of dinoflagellates — and a few dozen can be extremely toxic to people and marine life.

The species found in the waters surrounding Saadiyat was believed to an irritant, as opposed to toxic.

An email sent to people on the island said the samples taken on Tuesday confirmed that the sea was now free of the red tide.

“Therefore, we advise the reopening of the affected beaches [on] the Saadiyat island,” read the email from the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi.

In 2008 and 2009 red tide devastated fish and marine life, which is only now recovering. Matthias Seifert for The National
In 2008 and 2009 red tide devastated fish and marine life, which is only now recovering. Matthias Seifert for The National

Red tides tend to occur more frequently in warmer waters. And the Arabian Gulf is the hottest sea in the world, making it particularly susceptible to the phenomenon.

High concentrations of red tide have in the past clogged the filters of desalination plants in the UAE.

And in 2008 and 2009, a red tide caused serious damage to the UAE’s marine life, damaging fish stocks, coral, and wiping out large populations of fish in Dibba Rock. Shark numbers in the bay are only now recovering.

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Read more:

Saadiyat closed to swimmers due to a harmful algal bloom

Red alert: Ministry monitors algal bloom in UAE's regional waters

Algal bloom the size of Mexico could threaten UAE marine life, experts say

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