Costa Rica Red Tide Continues Havoc

Nicoya Gulf In Costa Rica Remains Under Red Tide

Costa Rica Red TideSince February 2012, the Nicoya Gulf of Costa Rica has been under red tide conditions and for the local community, the natural phenomenon has been one of the worst experienced in many years.  The natural occurrence is a result of the stirring of currents in the ocean and in combination with the nitrates and phosphates in the ocean as a result of human and agricultural waste disposal into the surrounding waters.

The red tide, considered to be one of the worse in the Nicoya Gulf, is an algae bloom that gives the ocean water a hue of red varying in color from darkish red to shades of brown, hence the name red tide. In addition to the appearance, the conditions result is an awful smell that can linger in the air. Normally in Costa Rica, the conditions only last a few weeks and usually in the months of April and May but this year, the red tide continues to reek havoc since the beginning of February.

Red Tide Marine Life Nightmare

The algae that creates the red tide are called dinoflagellates which flourish and photosynthesize and grow during sunny conditions. The algae can secrete deadly toxins, which can be absorbed by shellfish that may result in illness or even death in humans. Although this is rare in Costa Rica, there have be isolated recorded deaths as a result of toxin ingestion.

The effects of red tide in the marine life is what also concerns Costa Rica. The red tide toxins create deadly conditions for the fish population. This year, the continuous perfect conditions for the algae to bloom, an increase in pollution in the ocean from fertilizers, phosphates and nitrates and the combination of ocean currents and sunshine result in the perfect storm for the algae to flourish.

For the Nicoya Gulf, the algae blooms have deterred swimmers who come to the region to enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches. Although tourists still venture to the region, perhaps unaware of the conditions, locals have decided to stay away from the beaches. For Costa Rica which is dependant on tourism with high season in full swing, the red tide conditions may eventually affect the business community which relies on tourism during this season for the majority of their revenue. For Costa Rica, red tide conditions are serious and perhaps this is an eye opener for the Nicoya Gulf community!


Filed Under: BeachesEcoFeaturedNicoya


About the Author: Tee is Senior Editor of CostaRicaCLOSEUP.com and NBC's adventure dating series fans magazine LoveInTheWildFansMag.com, as well ascontributing editor to QRCodesUSA.org

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