Muscat: Authorities have allayed fears and said fishing won’t be affected off the coast of Barka because of the possibility of a red tide. The clarification came in the wake of an emergency meeting called by Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) to discuss the algal blooming in the sea off Barka.
Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) had collected seawater samples to check for algae species that may cause a red tide. The MAF clarified that there was no sign that fishing could be affected in the sea near Barka.
“We have collected seawater samples from the coast near Barka. It may take a few days for the results to come back. There is no difficulty as far as fishing is concerned. Fishermen need not be worried. They can earn their livelihood without any problem,” an MAF official said.
He further said the water appeared clear and there were no signs of a red tide, so far.
“At first glance, the water sample and the sea appear to be normal and very clear. There appears to be no red tide all around Barka. We need the results from the samples, however, to be entirely sure,” the official added.
Khaled Al Hashmi, biological oceanographer at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), said the yearly algal bloom does not affect fishing in any way.
“The name of the species that blooms in winter off the coast of Oman is Noctiluca scintillans. This species does not affect fishing. Though fish keep away from it due to the amount of ammonia it releases, it does not affect the fishing industry in a significant manner. Fishermen can continue fishing during this bloom,” he said.
He further said that he, too, had been waiting for the results of seawater samples taken from the Barka coast. “I still haven’t gotten the results of the samples from Barka to describe the nature of this particular bloom. I’m waiting,” he added.
The PAEW has issued a fresh statement regarding the issue of algal bloom off Barka’s coast. It said the concentration of the algae at the coast has decreased.
Though the production of the desalination units in the Wilayat of Barka continues to be affected by the this tide, it pointed out that the water companies are continuing their efforts to operate the units when the plankton is low in seawater to ensure maximum water production.
The main emergency committee of PAEW monitored the measures taken to ensure that the customers in the Wilayat of Seeb and the Governorate of Al Wusta are not affected by any shortage of water after the data indicated that there is no water interruption.
The main emergency committee stressed the need to take all measures to ensure that there is no shortage of water distribution.
The Committee praised the measures taken to mitigate the impact of the case of the red tide. -With inputs from ONA