Brittany's orange sea poses no danger to public

Unusual colour of water along beaches caused by natural phytoplankton

Waves lapping the beaches of southern Finistère turned an unusual shade orange at the weekend - but there is nothing to worry about, authorities have said.

Officials banned anyone from entering the sea for several hours on Saturday at Trégunc, Moëlan-sur-Mer and Clohars-Carnoët because of the strange colour of the water in several sections of beaches.

But investigations have confirmed that the effect has been caused by a perfectly natural phenomenon - a bloom of the phytoplankton Noctiluca scintillans.

The orange water may appear on beaches along the coast of neighbouring Morbihan in days to come. In a statement, a spokesperson for the prefecture said: "On the Breton coasts, the proliferation of phytoplankton does not present any particular danger for bathing activity."

But officials have issued the following advice.

  • Do not swim in areas of algae accumulation.
  • Take a shower after swimming.
  • Stop children ingesting seawater.
  • Avoid walking on areas with phytoplankton deposits due to a risk of falling.
  • Do not eat shellfish, crustaceans and dead fish.

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