Red tide not toxic, experts confirm

SANParks yesterday confirmed the red tide along the Garden Route is not toxic.

KNYSNA NEWS - The red tide along the Garden Route is not toxic, it has now been established.

Confirmation to this effect came yesterday (December 21) from the Action Pollution Committee, consisting of SA National Parks (SANParks), the Eden district and Knysna municipalities and the Knysna Basin Project.
“This follows results of water samples collected by the committee and interpreted by Professor Brian Allanson of the Knysna Basin Project,” said SANParks spokesperson Nandi Mgwadlamba. “I can confirm results indicate the same species of dinoflagellate (L polyedra) responsible for the algal bloom in 2013 is currently in bloom [2015].”
In 2013 however, it was found to be nontoxic by Dr Grant Pitcher of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and researchers from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
Allanson’s programme of collection and microscopic identification over a period of five days indicate the levels of dinoflagellates vary depending on temperature levels, wind, tidal flow and other factors.
“The abundance of dinoflagellates was assessed by collecting a small volume (~ 0.5 ml) of sample water from the lower perimeter groove (channel) of the container and transferred to a cavity slide,” according to Allanson.
The Eden district municipality’s health division (EDM) has had oysters tested by researchers and samples for toxicity have tested negative. The EDM is planning to lift a ban on the collection of shellfish, but the committee’s advice is for all users of the coastal environment to still not collect shellfish or eat fish that wash up on the shore.
“Body-contact water activities such as swimming, snorkelling and others may proceed, Mgwadlamba said.
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