Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Saturday, 22 August 2009 16:19 UK

Algae 'causes lower crab catches'

An algae which has killed thousands of fish off the coast of Cornwall has now begun to affect crab catches in Looe, according to the town's harbour master.

The Red Tide algal bloom produces toxins lethal to fish and shellfish and also depletes oxygen levels which makes it difficult for marine life to breath.

It was blamed for the death of fish in St Austell Bay and temporarily led to four shellfishing sites being shut.

Harbour master Geoff Penhaligon said the crabs vanished when the algae came.

Catches reduced

"When it came up the river it was black - we had two days when the river was totally black," he said.

"It's killed a lot of lug worm up the river, a lot of cockles and winkles have died off and the crabs have disappeared.

"For two days nobody caught a crab and for the last two days I've looked in the buckets here and there's only been the odd one or two - not the great numbers we usually have."

According to marine experts, the toxin from the algae can become concentrated in the flesh of shellfish grown in contaminated waters.

However, the Shellfish Association of Great Britain said last week that it did not believe the local industry would be too badly affected because the main shellfishing season did not start until the autumn.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Fishing stops after algae deaths
14 Aug 09 |  Cornwall
Thousands of dead fish washed up
13 Aug 09 |  Cornwall
Aquarium shells out for salt water
29 Apr 03 |  Cornwall
'Red tide' reaches China
18 Apr 98 |  Asia-Pacific

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific