UAE | Environment

'Red tide' forces tourists to ditch Dibba coast

Concerned beachgoers in the East Coast had to be reassured that the "red tide" is nothing to be scared of after a number of people were worried it was an oil spill.

  • By Fuad Ali, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 23:20 November 7, 2008
  • Gulf News

Fujairah: Concerned beachgoers in the East Coast had to be reassured that the "red tide" is nothing to be scared of after a number of people were worried it was an oil spill.

The marine phenomenon, which scientists refer to as "algal bloom", has hit hardest around the Dibba area but also managed to reach the tourist hot-spot of Al Faqeet, were a number of popular, high-end resorts are based.

The event happens when algae multiplies rapidly in the water and can often deplete oxygen in the water or produce natural toxins.

Some beachgoers suspected the change in sea colour was due to an oil spill, something which has occurred in the area a number of times already this year.

Precaution

Hotel employers were, however, quick to explain the situation to their clients, many of whom, hoteliers say were happy to continue swimming.

But snorkeling and diving were distributed at some of the spots in the area.

Hoteliers also dismissed any safety concerns, saying that they have had no adverse reports from swimmers.

As a precautionary measure, swimmers with allergies or sensitivities towards pollen or plants are advised to take care and inspect sea conditions before taking a dip.

Robert Culp, Recreation Manager at Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa, said the situation yesterday was much better than the last few days, adding that he expects the water to clear up in a day or two.

Oxygen depletion

He said: "Much of the problem has now passed, thankfully, and already things are looking up but you can understand the reaction of some visitors who were naturally concerned at the change in sea colour."

Municipality officials, accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Environment and Water and local fishermen's representatives met this week to discuss the "red tide" occurrence which has blighted some parts of the East Coast.

The problem was coming to an end, officials said, pointing to a noticeable reduction of dead fish washing up on the shores.

Officials said this year's occurrence was one of the largest they have seen in many years resulting in the death of hundreds of tonnes of fish.

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