|The Red Scare off Miramar|
Like something out straight out of the Old Testament, the waters off Miramar today have been an eerie reddish-brown color. And many people have been calling in to the Review all day long, saying they’re very disturbed by this.
We’ve been trying to get a handle on what this is all about, and so far we’re hearing this is a dramatic instance of the “red tide” – an occasional overgrowth of algae that causes the ocean color to change.
A spokesman from the Pillar Point Harbormaster’s office said this happens every so often, and it typically isn’t anything to worry about. But he said swimming in the water isn’t a good idea today.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that the red tide algae produces toxins that can kill “millions” of fish. It’s not clear whether swimming or being near the shoreline poses a danger to humans. There have been stories of people getting minor irritations from the toxins, but no clear environmental hazard for humans has been established.
But health experts say one thing people should definitely avoid is eating shellfish. The toxins from algae can get lodged in shellfish and can cause severe digestive or neurological poisoning.
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