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Testing reveals red tide in Derwent

Sampling and testing of a red slick reported in the Derwent Estuary around the Hobart area has confirmed it as the non-toxic algal bloom, Noctiluca scintillans

The Environment Protection Authority received reports this week of a red slick at several locations around the city and on the Eastern Shore.

Technical officer John Dobson collected a sample for analysis from Watermans Dock on Sunday evening and created a bit of a stir on the waterfront when the water sparkled.

Acting EPA Director John Mollison explained that during the day the blooms resemble pinkish clouds in the water but at night they become luminous.

"We have had ongoing reports of this algae in the Derwent over several years and although the pinkish-red coloured slick may at times look like a contaminant type spill, this type of bloom is not considered harmful," John said.

"It is important that people are aware when there are algal bloom in the water as there are some varieties that can cause the release of toxins which are harmful to people and animals," he said.

"This variety we are currently seeing however is not known to release toxins.

"If people are concerned, they can avoid swimming where algal blooms are present and of course always follow any guidelines which may be in place by the Department of Health and Human Services, local councils and other authorities."