Confirmation of blue green algae

22nd August 2023

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has received confirmation from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) that blue green algae has been detected in the area of Boa Island (east) side of Lusty Beg.

Blue green algae is a naturally occurring organism which can be found in loughs, rivers and ponds and is most prevalent from May through to September when suitable weather conditions combine with a ready supply of nutrients, particularly phosphorus. Algal blooms are often green, but can be other colours such as yellow-brown or red depending on the species of algae.

The duration of blooms may last for a few days to several weeks until conditions in the lake change and the algae die and decompose. When in bloom, it can produce toxins which pose a health risk to humans and animals, therefore, it is recommended that people avoid contact with the affected water and shoreline and ensure pets and animals are also kept away.

Blue green algae can bloom very quickly, therefore, people are advised to be aware and exercise caution around waterways during periods of warm weather due to the potential health risks for people and animals.

Should anyone suspect a presence of blue green algae in the water or along the shoreline, they are advised to avoid contact with the water and the adjacent shoreline and report the issue to the NIEA using the free to download ‘Bloomin’ Algae’ app, telephone the NIEA incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or email with a photo, if possible, and details on the location of the potential bloom.