Mon, 14/08/2017 - 12:12

The Canary Islands refute reports of beach closures due to the natural presence of microalgae

Promotur Turismo de Canarias


  • The sporadic appearance of microalgal blooms on a limited number of Canary Islands beaches is a natural phenomenon caused by a range of biological, environmental and climatological factors and is unrelated to any form of pollution
  • The Canary Islands Health Authority reports that direct contact with microalgae can cause skin irritation and therefore recommends that people avoid direct skin contact
  • Tourist activity in the Canary Islands is completely unaffected and goes on as normal with all beaches open and only a small number of beaches affected in a limited way by the microalgae


Canary Islands, August 14, 2017 – In response to continued international press reports about beach closures in the Canary Islands caused by ‘toxic microalgae’, the Canary Islands Government, via Health Minister José Manuel Baltar, has clarified that health and environmental experts guarantee that the presence of microalgal blooms at a small number of Canary Islands beaches is a sporadic and natural event caused by a rare combination of biological, environmental and climatological factors. The microalgae is in no way connected to any form of pollution, has not led to the closure of any Canary Islands beaches, and is not toxic.

This natural phenomenon, which is rare and sporadic, has not led to any bathing restrictions at Canary Islands beaches other than a small number of red flag events at a few beaches. When microalgae appears at a beach, driven ashore by the wind, waves and currents, it only affects a small area and then only for a short period.

The only effect of microalgae is skin irritation and the Canary Islands Health Authorities therefore recommend that people avoid direct skin contact with the blooms. These are easy to identify due to their characteristic appearance and colour. It must be noted that the Canary Islands Public Health System has not seen any variation in the number of reported cases of skin irritation since the start of the phenomenon.

Figures from the Canary Islands Government Monitoring System for Beach Safety and Water Quality, which follows European regulations, rate 98.2% of Canary Islands beaches are excellent with 0.9% are rated as good and 0.9% as uncategorized. These figures are delivered annually by the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Spain to the European Commission’s European Environment Agency.

Despite this temporary situation, which only affects a small number of the beaches in the Canary Islands and then only prevents swimming in the limited areas directly affected, tourist activity goes on as normal in the Canary Islands. Our visitors are enjoying the swimming areas of the vast majority of beaches in tourist areas as they always have done. 


About the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands is the place with The best climate in the world for enjoying exceptional holidays any time of the year. Seven different and unique islands, perfect for disconnecting from your daily routine, recharging your batteries and returning home feeling physically and mentally refreshed. The beaches, volcanic landscapes, lively and hospitable lifestyle and the possibility of choosing from all sorts of outdoor activities, as well as a wide range of quality accommodation and leisure activities, mean that the majority of visitors repeat the experience more than once.

About Promotur Turismo de Canarias

Promotur Turismo de Canarias, an entity attached to the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport of the Regional Government of the Canary Islands, oversees the promotion of the Canary Islands tourism brand. Created in 2005, the main goal of this public company is to study, promote and market the huge tourist offer the Canarian archipelago affords, in conjunction with the other institutions on the islands related to the tourist sector.

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