Toxic 'red tide' killing marine life along West Coast
A natural phenomenon known as 'red tide' has led to several species of marine life washing up on the shores along the West Coast.
Speaking to CapeTalk's Refilwe Moloto, Dr Grant Pitcher from the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries says it's quite a common occurrence on the West Coast at this time of year and is caused by a specific type of plankton.
They're known as dinoflagellates, they're small plants in the sea and they get to very high concentrations and they discolour the water in some instances.Dr Grant Pitcher, Specialist Scientist - Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
Pitcher says the blooms of phytoplankton extend 60 kilometres around Elands Bay, Lambert’s Bay, and Doring Bay.
The fatalities we're seeing now are mostly related to low oxygen in the water.Dr Grant Pitcher, Specialist Scientist - Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
You do get a couple of species that are known toxin producers and that's why we're warning that people shouldn't collect mussels and oysters and those types of shellfish.Dr Grant Pitcher, Specialist Scientist - Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
In 2014 high numbers of fish mortalities were recorded when an extensive red tide occurred along the South Coast, from Knysna to Port Elizabeth.
Find out more about the impact of 'red tide' on local marine life - click below for the full podcast:
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