HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong closed five beaches Thursday because of a new species of red tide — a toxic phenomenon that has already killed 1,500 tons of fish since mid-March.
Red tides are caused when water temperatures increase and algae breed quickly, soaking up oxygen and releasing fish-killing toxins.
The most recent beaches closed were in the New Territories bordering China. Officials are conducting tests to determine the algae’s species.
A deadly species, alexandrium excavatum, can attack the spinal nervous system and be fatal in large doses. It was found in Hong Kong waters last week, and health officials warned people not to eat shellfish.
Red tides have wiped out half of Hong Kong’s farm fish since mid-March, causing losses totaling $10.2 million and leaving about 1,000 Hong Kong fishermen in financial trouble.