Magallanes Region Public Health Department has set out a warning that red tide has been detected in several points of the area following lab tests of different molluscs and sea food.
Magallanes in the extreme south of Chile is famous for its sea food which is supplied to the rest of the country.
The red tide is made up of reddish algae highly toxic (VPM), with paralyzing effects on humans which can cause death. Outbreaks of red tide are not uncommon in the area but apparently not to the extent discovered this year. It could be the worst since 1972, when 20 people died of seafood poisoning caused by the algae. The main cause for the proliferation of this type of toxic algae is climate conditions, which this season are expected to last until next March. Press reports from Magallanes capital, Punta Arenas indicate that the Public Health office has called on the regional community and tourists to consume sea food with valid certification of areas free of algae. Similarly for those whose hobby is fishing, authorities recall they must take precautions and limit themselves to authorized areas. Local authorities are recommending coastal fishermen and molluscs extractors to take samples of their produce either to the Fisheries Promotion Institute or the Red Tide Program which depends from the Public Health Office Lab tests are free, only take two hours and a minimum of twelve samples are needed, according to the prevention campaign which has been launched.