Local News

Jun 13, 2013 2:22 PM by Rachel Cole - rcole@kristv.com

Researchers Study Brown Tide in Baffin Bay

RIVIERA - A team of researchers went out to Baffin Bay Thursday to take water samples to check the quality of the water, which is what the team is concerned about.

"It's gone from a very pristine bay full of a lot of sport and game fish to marginal fishing. In fact, the last year or so it's been very poor," Scott Murray said.

Scott Murray is one of several volunteers who frequently comes out to Baffin Bay to monitor the water quality. He says that in the past year the bay has been over taken by brown tide.

"It's a very complicated organism and it has a very wide range of ability to live in different salinities, high salinities, low salinity," Murray said.

Murray says those blooms can hang around all year, slowly depleting the oxygen from the water and in turn destroying sea life and recreational activities.

"The local people here are feeling the hurt now, the fishing guides have a good client list so they're hanging in there, commercial fisherman have primarily moved from here because they cant catch drum anymore," Murray added.

In order to find out what might be causing this brown tide, the team of researchers collected dozens of water samples.

The volunteers stuck station markers in the permanent areas where they're going to continue doing water sampling from month to month.

"We're looking at nutrients nitrogen phosphates that sort of thing, we're looking at salinity, dissolved oxygen and pH," Murray said.

Researchers are looking to see if land run-off or a nutrient that the brown tide is feeding off of that's causing the problem. The team of researchers hope to have results before next week.

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