More microalgae blooms off north Tenerife coast as well as in the sea around El Hierro and La Palma

Photo: Actualidad geográfica y meteorológica Tenerife.

Updated 23 August: The Canarian Government’s Political Territory Department has said today that microalgae blooms have now also been detected off the northern coast of Tenerife between Tacoronte and El Sauzal, as well as in the Mar de las Calmas to the south of El Hierro and on the Tazacorte coast of La Palma. Meanwhile, the control and monitoring vessel has spent its second day checking and cleaning the Santiago del Teide coast of the blooms that have appeared there near bathing areas.

Original post 22 August: Microalgae blooms were a major concern last year between June and September (see HERE), and the Canarian Government reacted to public concern by releasing a “definitive census” of unauthorized discharges into the sea around the islands all the while insisting that the blooms were a natural and largely harmless phenomenon unrelated to sewage. Eventually, in the face of enormous public interest and disgust, they had little choice but to admit that there was a link in that although the blooms are natural, being produced by warmer seas and calima-borne “nutrients” like iron, they are also nourished by untreated sewage further out to sea so as to produce a greater number of florations and in greater frequency.

Photo: Gobcan

Many of us hoped that would be a one-off year, but climate science doesn’t really work like that, and unfotunately now that the weather has maintained some heat for some weeks, the Canarian Government’s Department of Política Territorial, Sostenibilidad y Seguridad has had to send out a reconnaissance aeroplane to check reports of two blooms of microalgae off the Masca and Santiago del Teide coast in west Tenerife. Reports back from the flight have resulted in a control and monitoring boat being launched to take samples of the water and algae for analysis by the Spanish Bank of Algae: the vessel is specifically designed for this type of work and has been hired by the Environment Department for the purpose.

The Government says that the boat will remain in the Canaries after this exercise and sail between the islands though being based in Tenerife because this was the island with the greatest intensity of blooms last year. It is likely that the rental agreement will see the boat return next year as well because the Government has requested a quote for a “second boat” next year to be based in Gran Canaria. They are clearly not expecting this situation to improve any time very soon.


  1. Hmmmm I wonder why? This sewage dumping in the sea is horrific for both the environment and people. It will only get worse if the government doesn’t get smarter especially with more tourists being brought to the islands and more cruise ships.
    Do you know of any campaign groups working to raise awareness? I would be interested in doing something.

    This is happening now:

    1. Author

      There are many such groups. If you were to google or Facebook-search “mares limpias” or “playas limpias” or “medio ambiente tenerife” you will find many. You could also look HERE for an environmental volunteer group in Tenerife, HERE for the Asociación Tinerfeña de Amigos de la Naturaleza, and HERE for environmental action group Ben Magec. And of course there is THIS that I posted the other day.

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