The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and police have been deployed to the West Coast to help with the clean-up efforts pertaining to an estimated 500 tons of West Coast rock lobster that attempted to escape the harmful algal bloom commonly referred to as red tide.
A red tide is an event that occurs on the coastline when algae — a plant-like organism — grows out of control. The name comes from the fact that overgrown algae can cause the water to change colour. Red tides can be hazardous to human health and sea life.
When these algae blooms occur, all oxygen in the water column disintegrates and the marine life either perish or attempt to escape.
While this is a common occurrence that often takes place in summer, the extent of the mass walk-out is massive, extending between 50 to 60km and affecting the waters of Elands, Lambert’s, and Doring bays.
According to News24, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment had activated a red alert and is supported by the West Coast District Municipality, Cederberg Municipality, police, SANDF, Western Cape government and local communities as they attempt to rescue lobsters that are still alive. These lucky critters will be rehabilitated and returned to the ocean once the coast is clear.
However, the public is urged not to collect and consume any of the dead lobster, fish and shellfish that have washed ashore as they contain toxins.
Picture: Sea Search