BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today,
28 Dec 2009
The UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) has implemented latest technology to track red-tide phenomenon in the marine environment of the country.
The red-tide is a reddish discolouration of coastal surface waters due to concentration of toxin-producing algae, which are fatal to many forms of marine life.
In such a situation, fishing grounds are closed to prevent the harvest of any contaminated shellfish.
The advanced technology to prevent the threatening phenomenon, coupled with specialised expertise, has been put in place in affiliation with the regional and global institutions, according to environment officials.
The MoEW had been making efforts to control the phenomenon that spread widely across the coast, especially in Dibba,
Fujairah, Kalba and Khor Fukhan areas.
A senior MOEW member said the new strategies and systems will significantly facilitate the UAE to protect the environment and marine resources of the territorial waters of the country.
Dr Ibrahim Al Jamali, Director of the Centre for Marine Environmental Research at the MOEW, said, "A national action plan has been approved by the Council of Ministers to equip with the system to monitor and control the prevalence of red tide in order to reduce its negative effects in the water."
"The action plan will ensure maximum protection of the marine life and environment from the devastating natural phenomenon. The plan specifies monitoring procedures to protect public health in coordination with competent authorities for fisheries and aquaculture, tourism as well as marine leisure clubs," he added.
According to him, the system will help in responding to sudden disasters of the red-tide as well as the early warning of the phenomenon using satellite images.
Dr Jamali said, "The ministry coordinates with the Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME). The services of marine experts from
Kuwait, Malaysia, France and will also be utilised." United States
"The ministry has collected samples of the sea water of the red tide affected sites from different depths in order to identify the species that cause this phenomenon and analyse the characteristics of water," he said.
"The laboratory tests were conducted in different places, including the Central Laboratories of the MOEW, the
and the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency. The results have shown the presence of twelve toxic elements that caused the red tide," he explained. UAE University
"The adverse effects of the phenomenon on the marine life include a range of environmental and health risks as well as negative impact on fishing and other economic and tourism activities," said Dr Jamali.
"The concentration of harmful substances increases in the sea during the affected time, threatening the marine resources. It affects the proper functioning of desalination plants," he added.