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Bioluminescence Sightings in Goa Look Magical. But They Are Really Bad for Fish, Warn Researchers

Image for representation

Image for representation

The emergence of noctiluca blooms, commonly referred to as bioluminescence, along Goa's beaches is a cause for worry because the phenomenon could lead to scarcity of fish off the state's coast, Sunil Kumar Singh, Director, National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

The emergence of noctiluca blooms, commonly referred to as bioluminescence, along Goa’s beaches is a cause for worry because the phenomenon could lead to scarcity of fish off the state’s coast, Sunil Kumar Singh, Director, National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), said on Thursday.

“This situation is of course serious," Singh said while referring to the blooms, when he was asked about the possibilities of a fish famine off Goa’s coastline.

“Noctiluca blooms are not good for fisheries, because they consume most of the oxygen. They do not allow zooplankton (common fish fodder) to develop, which is important for fish. Without these zooplanktons, the fish will die," Singh said.

Singh heads the NIO which functions under the aegis of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, a central government body.

Sightings of bioluminescence have been reported along some of the beaches in the state, as well as along the Konkan belt over the last one week. Marine scientists have already warned of a likely fish famine in Goa on account of overkill of fish for export and to cater to the hospitality industry in the tourism-oriented state.

Remember the blue glow from Chennai beaches that caught the attention of social media?

Visitors to the beach along the East Coast Road in Chennai were left surprised after they witnessed an unusual sight on the evening of Sunday, August 18 - waves in the beach were sparkling with a blue glow.

Analysis of samples has established that a blue glow witnessed recently in and around the city’s coastline was due to blooming of sea sparkle species, a National Centre for Coastal Research scientist said on Sunday.

After a blue glow, known as bioluminescence was witnessed, samples were collected by the NCCR to establish various parameters and scientifically confirm the species behind it. The blue glow was caused by bioluminescence or blue sea sparkles which are a rare sight in Chennai.

Like Goa, the ones in Chennai were cause for worry too.

Tamil Nadu Dr J Jayalalitha Fisheries University Vice Chancellor S Felix had on August 20 said the blue glow may be due to the blooming of “non-toxic marine dinoflagellate species, called Noctiluca scintillans."

Generally, the formation of this bloom is considered a bad sign for decline of fisheries in the particular location, Felix had said.

“Sometimes, the liberation of ammonia from the cells of the noctiluca may cause the large-scale mass kill of fish during the crash of the bloom," he had remarked.

(With IANS inputs)

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