Oil spill fears on local beaches

IT WAS algae and not spilled oil that caused concern for Coffs Coast residents over the weekend.

Solitary Islands Marine Park manager Nicola Johnstone was called out to the suspected oil spill at Hearnes Lake beach and Mullaway Beach on Saturday.

“A lot of residents were concerned as the water looked black and oily,” Ms Johnstone said.

“We took samples and a specialist from the National Marine Science Centre confirmed that micro algae is the culprit.

“We are now awaiting the results to identify what type of algae it is. We do know, however, that it's unlikely to be harmful to humans.

“It's not uncommon for these algae events to occur following heavy rain and large seas, like we've experienced in this region recently.”

Ms Johnstone said the response from the community had been fantastic.

“It's an indication to us of just how many people care about this beautiful marine park and I encourage people in the community to contact the marine park office on 6652 0900 if they do see anything unusual in the park.”

The Solitary Islands Marine Park is one of six marine parks in NSW. Protective zoning has been in place in some areas since 1991.

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