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Algal bloom kills millions of abalone in E China

(Xinhua)

08:43, May 30, 2012

Liu Qiaoying, whose family lost four fifth of the abalones in a red tide, demonstrates a handful of dead abalones in Suao Township of Pingtan County, southeast China's Fujian Province, May 29, 2012. Abalone farms in the offshore waters of Pingtan have suffered from a red tide that occurred on May 25. Direct economic losses could be estimated at 220 million yuan (34.8 million U.S. dollars), as more than half of the area's 100 million abalones have died as a result of the algal bloom. Local authorities are making efforts to help abalone raisers minimize their losses. (Xinhua/Zhang Guojun)

FUZHOU, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Eight red tides have occurred this year off the coast of east China's Fujian province, and the algal blooms have killed millions of abalone, according to local authorities.

A 278-square-km red tide covering a sea area of Pingtan county in Fujian was threatening local abalone farms, according to the Ocean and Fisheries Department of Pingtan County.

The department said that the algal bloom had suffocated 55 million abalone since Saturday, and inflicted direct economic losses of more than 220 million yuan (35 million U.S. dollars).

"I will lose over 2 million yuan," said Zhuo Ronglan, a Pingtan abalone farmer.

Red tide can devastate fishery and aquaculture industries as the algae removes oxygen from the water, suffocating sea creatures.

Red tide might be caused by seawater pollution, changing water temperatures, lingering rains and over fishing, according to the department's website.

Abalone is considered a delicacy for many and Fujian exports thousands of tonnes of it to Japan, the Republic of Korea as well as China's Hong Kong and Taiwan each year.

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