Monday, November 28, 2022
November 28, 2022

Orange algal bloom streaks local waters

An algae species called Noctiluca scintillans is making a splash on coastal waters, with a thick orange slick that can resemble oil paint creating a striking contrast to the dark green sea.

Elysha Gordon, shellfish sanitation program coordinator for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, confirmed the event is due to the nontoxic species and not of the type that can cause shellfish poisoning, commonly known as red tide.

“I’ve been receiving photos for the last week or two from Salt Spring and other places,” Gordon said, noting blooms have been seen from Powell River to Maple Bay.

Plankton specialist Nicky Haigh, who is based in Salt Spring and Nanaimo, runs the Harmful Algae Monitoring Program for the B.C. salmon farming industry through her company Microthalassia.

Haigh explained the bright orange algae appears following the spring diatom bloom, because it feeds on the diatoms. The timing can shift but tends to happen near the end of April or beginning of May. The bloom is visible both during the day and at night.

For more on this story, see the May 2, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Other stories you might like

Pender organizers seek final $500k by the end of the year 

Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the Pender Islands Conservancy have raised 70 per cent of the $2.1 million required to complete the purchase of the...

Southern Gulf Islands choose mix of new and known trustees

Southern Gulf Islands voters chose a few new faces to add to familiar elected officials in Saturday’s local elections. Longtime Mayne Island trustee Jeanine Dodds...

Local election poll dates, times and more

The first of two advance polls for local government elections and referendum questions was held on Wednesday, Oct. 5, with a second one set...

Editorial: Islands left ‘unprotected’ without SVT

When it comes to fending off real estate speculation, the Gulf Islands can consider themselves left to the wolves. In announcing an expansion of the...


Salt Spring Island
broken clouds
-0 ° C
1.7 °
-2.3 °
84 %
73 %
1 °
-0 °
1 °
0 °
0 °