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Red tide warning: Public must remain cautious
Date: 27th January 2014
Authorities (SANParks, Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Basin Project) are still cautioning against the collection of shellfish from the Knysna estuary following evidence of a red tide. Local expert, Professor Brian Allanson of the Knysna Basin Project is in touch with the Department of Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to further analyse water samples.
There is also an imminent meeting with scientists in Port Elizabeth (PE) to further discuss their findings. The results will be communicated to the public.
The public is requested to exercise caution as common types of red tide can kill shellfish, abalone, black and white mussels and oysters. Other blooms can be stored in mussels until they become poisonous if eaten by humans.
What are these phytoplankton organisms?
Phytoplankton are ‘microscopic, single-celled organisms that float in the sea, according to a Marine and Coastal Management Guideline from the Department of Environmental Affairs. They are able to photosynthesise and form the basis of food chains in the oceans. There are three types of red tide organisms, dinoflagellates, diatoms and ciliates.’
Dinoflagellates usually lie dormant on the seabed until they are lifted to the surface during upwelling where the ideal conditions of temperature and light trigger their germination.
Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP), which produces toxins that disrupt normal nerve functions, can be associated closely with dinoflagellate. Symptoms of PSP appear anytime between one and five hours after eating contaminated seafood.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Garden Route Communications
Tel: 044 302 5633
Regional Communications Manager, SANParks
Tel: 044 302 5633; Cell: 078 702 9663