The Action Pollution Committee (SANParks, Eden District Municipality, Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Basin Project) can confirm the red tide is not toxic.
This follows results of water samples collected by the Committee and interpreted by Professor Brian Allanson of the Knysna Basin Project. ‘I can confirm results indicate the same species of dinoflagellate (L.polyedra)responsible for the algal bloom in 2013 is currently in bloom (2015).’
In 2013 however, it was found to be non-toxic by Dr. Grant Pitcher (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) and researchers from the CSIR.
Professor Allanson’s programme of collection and microscopic identification over 5 days indicate the levels of dinoflagellates vary depending on temperature levels, wind, tidal flow and other factors.
‘The abundance of dinoflagellates (indicated in the table above) was assessed by collecting a small volume (~ 0.5 ml) of sample water from the lower perimeter groove (channel) of the container and transferred to a cavity slide’ according to Allanson.
The Eden District Municipality’s Health division (EDM)has had oysters tested by researchers and samples for toxicity have tested negative. The EDM is planning to lift a ban on the collection of shellfish but the Committee are advising all users of the coastal environment to still not collect shellfish or eat any fish that wash up on the shore. Body contact water activities such as swimming, snorkeling and others may proceed.