Red alert: Ministry monitors algal bloom in UAE's regional waters

The biological activity was detected in the areas alongside the economic zone overlooking the west coast of the Arabian Gulf and the eastern coast of the Gulf of ​​Oman

A key indicator of climate change on marine environments has resurfaced in the form of Red Tide in regional waters.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is monitoring the algal bloom following notice from Ras Al Khaimah Environmental Protection and Development Authority.

Algal blooms are not harmful in small concentrations and are primarily the result of rising seawater temperatures. Other causes include the movement of sea currents and seasonal wind activity.

The Arabian Gulf is the hottest sea in the world making it particularly susceptible to the natural phenomenon which has occurred more frequently in recent years.

The biological activity was detected in the areas alongside the economic zone overlooking the west coast of the Arabian Gulf and the eastern coast of the Gulf of ​​Oman.

In line with the National Plan for Red Tide Management that ensures an immediate response in such events, the ministry is co-ordinating satellite monitoring of the marine environment in co-operation with the Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment.


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Satellite images show the bloom extending to the Indian Ocean and adjacent countries.

A team of specialists from the ministry has been collecting and analysing water samples from various coastal areas of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman to identify the types of phytoplankton present.
The results indicate a limited algal bloom in green and brown colours that takes the form of unstable patches and consists of a mixture of phytoplankton species with relatively low biomass.
The ministry said that no harmful phytoplankton that causes the death of fish and other marine species had been observed.

As certain types of phytoplankton can make marine organisms poisonous to humans, the ministry urged fishermen and beach-goers to refrain from fishing and collecting shellfish for consumption in the areas of red tide. People with allergies were also asked to avoid swimming in affected waters.