Beaches 'like a scene from Jaws'

SECTIONS of Newcastle’s  coastline looked more like tomato soup yesterday as the red algae that flooded Sydney beaches  appeared in the Hunter.

Newcastle beach inspector Daniel Mason said the red algae was first spotted off the coast about 2pm and quickly made its way closer to shore.

‘‘It was like a scene from Jaws, where the waves break and all you can see is bright red water and pink foam,’’ he said. 

Mr Mason said a group of surfers had not been deterred by the change in colour and the algae posed no threat to swimmers.

‘‘We had the same thing here a few years ago and we got it tested, it’s relatively harmless,’’ he said.

A Newcastle City Council spokeswoman said beaches would remain open unless the volume of algae worsened.

‘‘It is suspected that the algae is noctiluca scintillans, a non-toxic organism,’’ the spokeswoman said.

‘‘The algae can cause skin and eye irritation.’’ 

There were patches of the algae spotted off beaches at Merewether, Dixon Park and Bar Beach yesterday afternoon while Stockton beach and Nobbys had not experienced a change in colour. 

The red algae forced the closure of several Sydney beaches, including iconic Bondi Beach, earlier this week. 

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