BEACH CLOSED: Find another spot to swim today
BEACH CLOSED: Find another spot to swim today Trevor Veale

Beach closed as locals complain of foul odour

SWIMMERS and surfers at Emerald Beach this afternoon were met with a "beach closed” sign.

It wasn't a shark or strong rips to blame; it was a tiny organism with a big smell.

"Algae blooms are naturally occurring and not unusual at this time of year,” Coffs Harbour Lifeguard Greg Hackfath said.

"Normally they stay well off the coast but we've had a month and a half or north-easterly swells so it has washed in.”

Algal (algae) blooms, are large concentrations of aquatic micro-organisms, such as protozoans and unicellular algae and are commonly refereed to as 'red tides'.

"There was a little bit at Red Rock earlier, it bypassed Woolgoolga altogether and has come in at Emerald Beach where we've closed the beach.”

How do you spot an algae bloom?

"If the dirty brown or red tinge in the water doesn't give it away the stink certainly will. It smells horrible.

"It may not hit another beach but we need beach goers to be aware that the algae bloom is around the coast at the moment and not to go into the water if you spot it.

"Some types can be toxic to humans. While I've never heard of anyone dying from exposure to them, if you get a mouth full of dirty water you may get sick.”

Lifeguards expected the beach to be reopened later today as the bloom continued to move south and out to sea.



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