Red-Tide Scare closes Algarve beaches

in News · 21-06-2019 01:00:00 · 0 Comments
Red-Tide Scare closes Algarve beaches

The algae affected bathers and shellfish alike

Beaches between Faro Island and Albufeira, in the Algarve, were closed to swimmers this week due to the appearance of a red algae thought to be potentially dangerous to health. The decision to close the beaches to bathers was made in the areas where the algae was found to be most dense.

The public-health scare eventually subsided on Wednesday, once the toxicological analysis proved the substances to be harmless.

Consequently, beachgoers have been given their green flag back, allowing them to bathe in the waters of the Atlantic once more.

José Pacheco, Director of the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), said that the “bathing ban on beaches between the Deserta Island (Faro) and the Açoteias beach (Albufeira) should be lifted”.

The lab tests were carried out by the Portuguese Sea and Atmosphere Institute (IPMA) and the Regional Health Authority, who did “not find any cases describing human intoxication on behalf of the observed toxin”.

In spite of having granted permission for reopening beaches to bathers, the APA still urges swimmers to be cautious, and to even avoid areas with a greater intensity of algae present, especially when it comes to “children and other vulnerable persons”.

Moreover, the red-tide scare affected more than just beachgoers, with restrictions being extended towards the harvest and commercialisation of some species of shellfish. The ban was imposed on the coastal areas comprised between Faro and Olhão, where some types of clam were already under restrictive guidelines due to the presence of lipophilic toxins.

There are also further restrictions on the collection of certain shellfish species in other areas of the Algarve, such as Tavira and Lagos. The IPMA warned that, in case any toxic values are detected closer to the allowed limit, “there will be an evaluation of cautionary interdictions in place” which can be extended to other areas.


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