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Red Tides Sighted in Hong Kong

HONG KONG - Red tides have been sighted in Hong Kong waters over the past week, an inter-departmental red tide working group reported on Friday.

Environmental Protection Department staff sighted a red tide at Shing Mun River on 12 February while a mariculturist spotted a red tide at Yim Tin Tsai Fish Culture Zone on 14 February. Both red tides dissipated on Friday.

Another occurrence at Silverstrand Beach in Sai Kung was reported by Leisure and Cultural Services Department staff on 15 February. The red flag was hoisted immediately and the red tide still persists.

No associated death of fish has been reported in these occurrences so far.

"The red tides at Shing Mun River and Yim Tin Tsai Fish Culture Zone were formed by Noctiluca scintillans, which is common in Hong Kong waters. The one at Silverstrand Beach was formed by Dictyocha speculum which is less common. Both species are non-toxic," a spokesman for the working group said.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) urged mariculturists at Yim Tin Tsai, Yim Tin Tsai (East), Yung Shue Au, Lo Fu Wat, Kau Sai, Ma Nam Wat, Po Toi O, Kai Lung Wan, Tai Tau Chau, Leung Shuen Wan and Tung Lung Chau to monitor the situation closely.

Red tide is a natural phenomenon. The AFCD's proactive phytoplankton monitoring programme will continue monitoring red tide occurrences to minimise the impact on the mariculture industry and the public.

Lucy Towers

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