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Hong Kong Red Tide Spreads

The waters around Hong Kong's outer island of Lamma are swamped with a red tide, or huge blooms of non-toxic algae, 07 June 2007. The red tides have led to the closure of 11 beaches, government officials said this week, while local press reports claimed the blooms were the biggest since 1998. The algal bloom in 1998, one of the worst in the southern Chinese territory's history, killed 90 percent of its farmed fish, according to press reports. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) June 10, 2007
The huge blooms of algae affecting the waters around Hong Kong have spread to a popular beach on the south of the island, authorities said Sunday. The government warned people not to swim off Stanley Beach after the so-called red tide was spotted there. The latest sighting takes the number of affected beaches to 15, and local media said the latest outbreak was the biggest since 1998, when 90 percent of the city's farmed fish were wiped out.

Red tides are caused by the rapid multiplication of microscopic algae which discolour the water.

Authorities said the latest outbreak was caused by a rare but non-toxic form of algae, and no fish deaths had so far been reported.

Although the algae are not poisonous they can deprive fish of oxygen, and authorities urged farmers to monitor the situation closely.

On Thursday, state media in China reported that a toxic red tide had struck near Shenzhen, a booming city just across the border from Hong Kong, prompting fears it could spread southwards.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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