News | 6th Mar, 2010

Algae takes the bloom off river holidays

Saturday, 6 March 2010
Peter Ker, The Age

THE Murray River should be flushed before long weekends and holidays to protect the struggling tourism sector, Victoria's Tourism Industry Council says.

The Labor Day long weekend begins in Victoria today with the river, one of the state's top holiday destinations, again choked by a toxic algal bloom.

About 680 kilometres of the river, including stretches through Wodonga, Barmah, Echuca and Gunbower are still on the highest possible red alert for blue-green algae, meaning people should avoid all contact with the water.

The alert comes after a similar bloom blunted last year's Easter tourism trade along the Murray.

VTIC spokesman Wayne Kayler-Thomson said it was time to look at ways to protect the industry.

''Logic would suggest that if [algal blooms] would be cleared by some flushing of the waterway, then it would make some sense to do it at a time when there's going to be some advantage for tourism,'' he said.

''If it's possible to mitigate the potential for algal blooms then we would encourage planning and action to be taken accordingly.'

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