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Red Tide in Kingston harbour no cause for alarm says NEPA

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 | 7:09 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is advising the public not to be alarmed by the discolouration presently occurring in the vicinity of Rae Town in the Kingston harbour.

NEPA said that the discolouration is due to an algal bloom, which is also referred to as “red tide” because of its blood red colour.

The discolouration has been occurring since Friday, September 7.

A ‘red tide’ is a common term for a harmful algal bloom (HAB). They occur nearly every year in the harbour and often turn the water a deep red, NEPA said in a release.

NEPA cautioned that algal blooms sometimes cause toxic or harmful effects on marine life, birds and humans. However, effects on humans are rare, and may include eye and respiratory irritation and rashes, the agency said.

NEPA said it has visited the location and has reported that there is no threat to marine life or users of the Kingston harbour at this time.

Red tides occur when colonies of algae grow out of control, usually from an increase in nutrients in the water. Increase in nutrient levels can arise naturally from land runoff after heavy rains or from human activity, the release added.

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