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Marine algal blooms in far northern Port Phillip Bay

by Sally Bateman on 29 Nov 2013
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The recent combination of warm weather and rain has resulted in the appearance of several marine algal blooms in far northern Port Phillip Bay.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is the lead agency in coordinating the Victorian Government’s response to marine algal blooms and works closely with the Environment Protection Authority on issues affecting water quality in Port Phillip Bay.

DEPI Port Phillip Regional Director Travis Dowling said: 'Algal blooms have been detected in small areas off St Kilda Yacht Club and in Hobsons Bay in the last week.'

'We are undertaking further sampling today to assess the Hobsons Bay bloom and if it has dispersed or moved on following the currents of the Bay.'

'As we move into warmer weather we are likely to see more of these blooms in the Bay, which are a natural occurrence and usually disperse within a few days,' Mr Dowling said.

'Blooms are concentrations of tiny floating marine plants and can vary in colour. They can sometimes be mistaken for an oil spill or other pollution event.'

'While algal blooms are rarely harmful to swimmers or other recreational users of the Bay, some people may experience skin and eye irritation following contact.'

'DEPI advises people to avoid contact with water that looks murky or discoloured and if contact occurs, wash with clean water.'

'Most of the algal blooms seen in the Bay do not affect fish for consumption; however as a precaution anglers are advised not to eat fish or shellfish from an affected area.'

'It is still safe to eat any shellfish bought from shops or supplied by commercial fisheries.'

Updates on algal blooms in Port Phillip bay can be found on DEPI’s website.
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