Saturday, May 25, 2024

Red tide warning for Perth coast

WA Health is advising people to avoid contact with algal blooms which have recently been spotted along parts of Perth’s coastline.

Shoreline sampling has confirmed these sporadic and patchy algal blooms to be Trichodesmium cf erythraeum, commonly referred to as ‘red tide’ or ‘saw dust’ which appear as brown-red-orange-yellow surface scum with the appearance of an oil slick, or a pinkish to pale green colour when it decomposes in surrounding water.

Contact with these blooms can result in skin irritations such as stinging, tingling or a rash, particularly in people with sensitive skin. Other symptoms may include a sore throat, nausea and general weakness.

WA Health Senior Scientific Officer, Jared Koutsoukos said people should avoid recreational activities such as swimming, diving, kayaking, jet-skiing, and fishing in areas where significant water discolouration or scum was visible, as this water could contain algae.

“We’re advising beachgoers, along with their pets, to stay out of the water where there are signs of water discolouration and algal scum,” Mr Koutsoukos said.

“If out fishing, you should not collect and consume wild shellfish if algal blooms are present.”

WA Health is working with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and relevant local government authorities to monitor and assess potentially impacted foreshore areas and erect health warning signs where practical.

As the blooms are transported by wind and tide, they can come and go fairly quickly, and also have the potential to extend to far-reaching areas along the Western Australian coastline.

Any person who comes into contact with discoloured water or algal scum should immediately rinse it off with clean water and seek medical attention if they become unwell.

Latest Articles