People, Environment

Persian Gulf Hit by Algal Bloom

Persian Gulf Hit by Algal BloomPersian Gulf Hit by Algal Bloom

The Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman are experiencing their biggest algal bloom in the past 10 years.

Speaking to ISNA news agency, deputy head of marine environment at the Department of Environment (DoE) Parvin Farshchi said, "The recent algal bloom started in Muscat, Oman in December 2014 and made its way to the Strait of Hormoz, Gulf of Oman, and the port city of Bandar Abbas [in Hormozgan Province]."

Analysis of images provided by the regional DoE office showed that the algal bloom covers 88,000 square kilometers in Muscat alone, she said. "Algal blooms are occasionally harmful and can disrupt ecosystems by reducing oxygen levels and producing toxins; thus killing aquatic creatures."

A national committee under the supervision of the DoE has been established, she said, to study the algae and take necessary measures to ensure the conservation of marine ecosystems. "We are also collaborating with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to address the issue," she added. An algal bloom is a rapid increase in the population of algae in an aquatic system, and may occur in freshwater as well as marine environments. Algal blooms that produce toxins and cause damage to other organisms are called harmful algal blooms (HABs). While the precise causes of HABs are unknown, their occurrence in certain locations seems to be completely natural, while in others they appear to be a result of human activities.