Sewage water, toxic algae behind dead fish on Jeddah beach

Strollers at a corniche in Jeddah, a port city on the Red Sea, were startled when they saw hundreds of fish lying dead on the beach. (Al Arabiya)

Large number of dead fish washed up on the beach in a Saudi city due to the discharge from the sewage increasing the number of toxic and harmful algae in the sea, Ali Achki, Associate Professor at The Faculty of Marine Sciences at King Abdul Aziz University, told Al Arabiya Net.

Strollers at a corniche in Jeddah, a port city on the Red Sea, were startled on Wednesday when they saw hundreds of fish lying dead on the beach, emanating an awful smell, prompting not only people, but birds as well, to leave.

Achki described the dead fish on the beach as a worldwide phenomenon known as “the red tide,” where it occurs once or twice in the seas and oceans of the world.

Red tide occurs when discoloration of seawater caused by a bloom of toxic red marine plankton called ‘dinoflagellates’. However, this is happening more often in Jeddah due to the increase in number of organisms and algae feeding on the nutrients from the sewage, causing the algae to grow in number.

The associate professor said these algae are divided in two groups. One group absorbs the oxygen in the water, suffocating and killing the fish, while the other type produces toxic substances which can kill marine life, including whales.

“These algae live on the surface of water, at a 20-meter depth, because they need sunlight,” he said

Achki warned fishermen and the public against capturing, consuming or merchandising these fish, since they are “deadly and toxic.”

(The article was first published in the Arabic language website of Al Arabiya News Channel)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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