Swift Response to Red Tide Keeps Jaltemba Bay Safe


redSwift Response to Red Tide Keeps Jaltemba Bay Safe         

Tara A. Spears

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Toxic levels of deadly red dinoflagellates were found in the Bahia Banderas during the first week of August 2016 with a swift response from the Secretariat of Health of Nayarit, Jalisco, and Sinaloa states to post a band on consuming local shell fish.

In recent years, the presence of red tide algae in the Mexican Pacific Ocean has occurred from Manzanillo Bay, Colima, all along the western Mexican coast to the Bay of Mazatlan, Nayarit, and as far north as Ensenada,  La Paz, Baja California. Fortunately, although Jaltemba Bay did have some of the toxic algae, the civic leaders and government were immediately in action.red 3

“I would like to thank the municipal President Alicia Monroy, the leader of the tourist association, and the beach merchants for your support in this task,” said Assistant Magistrate Octaviano Figueroa. “We managed to pick up all the trash and weeds that the recent red tide tossed up on the beach of Rincon de Guayabitos.”                                      

Figueroa Salazar believes that the beach cleaning not only guarantees the health of families and of the tourists, but also contributes to transform the face of Guayabitos. Figueroa utilizes the support from Compostela to instigate successful activities, such as regular beach cleaning and the clearing of channels, streams and sewers in order to avoid community flooding during the rainy season. 

Beach cleaning is one of Octaviano’s priorities because it guarantees that Rincon de Guayabitos will maintain its status as a certified beach. To achieve this goal requires the coordination of hoteliers, traders and volunteer workers to continually maintain a clean and safe family and tourist destination.

Researchers at University of Guadalajara, PV reported in 2001:  “This toxic algae species is widespread, tropical warm-water algae with compact cells. The first time this red tide phenomenon was observed in Bahia Banderas was in the summer of 2000. This initial red tide was defined as the largest and longest ever seen in Puerto Vallarta and on the coasts of Mexico, raising alarm in the population as a result of the death of marine fish.

Symred 4ptoms of red tide exposure:

It is important to know that red tide can affect the health of humans who come into direct contact with contaminated water, such as in fishing areas or places of recreation. At high concentrations, red tides can cause the water to become discolored with a red pigmentation, but depending on the type of algae present, the water can also be brown, green or even yellow. People who are exposed may suffer from skin irritation, burning eyes and respiratory problems. Toxins produced by harmful algal blooms that create red tides do not lose their toxicity when fish or shellfish is cooked, so people who consume contaminated shellfish can experience Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, lack of motor coordination, and tingling of fingers or toes.

Marine scientists from Texas A & M University stated, “Red tide is increasing in the number of blooms.” In the past 15 years, Villareal said more blooms have been reported than in the previous 50. Some of it may be attributable to better reporting, but probably not all of it.

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Currently, the major health concern stemming from red tide bloom, besides the contact reaction, is the danger of being poisoned after ingesting contaminated bivalve mollusks.  It is very reassuring that local government and community groups are working to keep the beautiful Mexican beaches safe. It is also good to know that the algae bloom is usually short duration so you don’t have to worry when you plan your vacation.