‘Pollution alert’ advice against bathing remains in place for Minnis Bay and West Bay

Advice against bathing Photo Frank Leppard

Thanet council says advice against bathing at Minnis Bay and West Bay remains in place following a pollution alert ver dead marine life along the coastline.

The Environment Agency is investigating after receiving a report of thousands of dead and dying ragworms and lugworms on the beach at Minnis Bay on Monday (May 20).

The pollution alert had previously been extended as far as Margate.

Photo Frank Leppard

Yesterday (May 22) the Environment Agency said: “We are carrying out a range of tests to identify the cause of the shellfish and invertebrate deaths at Minnis Bay. We are also working with the Centre for Fisheries, Environment and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (AIFCA), who are carrying out tests on shellfish.

“The evidence so far suggests the deaths may have been caused by an algal bloom, which has then died back, causing oxygen levels in the water to crash. However, at this point we cannot rule out other possibilities including species of algae, which can release toxins into the water, therefore our advice against bathing remains.

“We do not believe that this was caused by sewage pollution from storm overflows. Nevertheless, we have sampled the water to check for bacteria associated with sewage to confirm this.

Photo Frank Leppard

“We expect to receive further test results today (Wednesday 22nd May) to inform our response. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and engage in multi-agency working, including with CEFA, AIFCA, Thanet District Council and Canterbury City Council.”

Today Thanet council issued an update, saying: “Advice against bathing at Minnis Bay, Birchington-on-Sea and West Bay, Westgate-on-Sea remains in place, following reports of dead marine life on the coastline.

“Members of the public are advised to stay above the high water mark and to refrain from entering the water at these locations. Dog owners are also asked to keep their dogs on a lead at all times on these two beaches.

Photo Frank Leppard

“The Environment Agency (EA) is carrying out a range of tests to identify the cause, and is working with the Centre for Fisheries, Environment and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (AIFCA), who are carrying out tests on affected species.

“The council is working closely with the EA and other partners as they continue to monitor the situation.  Further information will follow after the latest inspections.”

4 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t be having anything from a local Chinese takeaway as there were several people at Westgate Bay digging cockles and gleaning everything they can from the rocks this evening..

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