Watch on algal bloom

AUTHORITIES have played down the danger of a mass of red algae spotted off the Clarence Coast at the weekend.

A spokesman for the NSW Office of Waters said the algae, spotted by a pilot, was 3-4km off the coast, which was not close to beaches.

"It only affects the water it's in and if it gets onto a beach," he said.

"We will have to wait and see the effects of the wind, tides and currents on where it moves to."

The spokesperson said the algae, although similar in colour to the blooms that closed beaches in Sydney last week, was a different species.

He said blooms appeared when upwellings of nutrient-rich cold water currents came into contact with warmer water.

This has happened along the NSW South Coast and Tasmania in recent times.

The spokesperson said the Clarence region was no stranger to algal blooms with Angourie's iconic blue pools regularly closed when algae appears.

Clarence Valley Council deputy general manager Des Schroder said council officers would look into the bloom and its movements over the next few days, but had not made any plans to close beaches or other waterways.

People are warned not eat shellfish or crustaceans which have come into contact with it and fish should be cleaned thoroughly with fresh water and have their innards and gills removed before being consumed.



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