Sunday, March 7, 2010

Red tides spread on east coast

The Gulf Today, 24 Nov 2009

The marine life on the east coast of the UAE has again plunged into the alarming threats of red tide phenomenon, according to sources at the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW).
The re-emergence of the red tide in the waters of the eastern region has been tracked by the advanced remote sensing technologies implemented by the MOEW.
The red tide is a reddish discolouration of coastal surface waters due to concentrations 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, said a senior ministry official.
Dr Maryam Hassan Al Shenasi, Executive Director for Technical Affairs at MoEW, said, "The phenomenon spread widely for months across the coast including Dibba, Fujairah, Kalba and Khor Fukhan areas. Later, the marine life gradually returned to normal conditions as coral reefs began to recover from the negative impacts of the phenomenon."
"New images of the red tide captured by satellite have located the emergence of the phenomenon and tracked its movements in the waters of the east coast region," she added.
According to her, the satellite images and information show the existence of the recent high concentration of the tides on surface waters of Dibba, Khor Fakkan and other areas. The images and information were distributed to concerned civic bodies and relevant environmental communities.
Shenasi pointed out, "Field surveys by the MOEW have shown the emergence of red tide on the east coast region stretching from the port of Dibba sporadically along the coast. Meanwhile, no fatalities of fish stocks and other marine organisms or foul odors emitting have been detected in these areas."
She said that test results conducted at central laboratories of the MOEW showed the chemical nutrients have decreased in the waters of the east coast during the spread of the red tides.
"Since the onset of red tide, the environment ministry had been making efforts to control it, in co-ordination with Kuwait-based Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment," added Shenasi.
"It's the season for breeding of a wide variety of fish reserves as well as migration of some fish species in the UAE's eastern coastal zone," explained Shenasi.

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