MUSCAT: The Saud Bahwan Automotive Group, in cooperation with the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) has announced the recall of 2,272 Toyota Avalon GSX40 (chassis nos U001002 to U078048) manufactured between October 15, 2013 and May 24 this year.

A PACP statement said that the recall notice is to repair faults in the driver and passengers seats of the vehicles.

The recall began on September 1, it added.



By: Swapna Tarafdar

MUSCAT: The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) has said that the red tide which recently occurred off the coast of Sohar was not toxic.

Nadir Mohammad Ali, head of ecology section, Marine Science and Fisheries Center, MoAF, said, “Our officials who visited the site concluded that the red tide that occurred near Sohar’s Majaz beach between September 2 and 4 was not toxic and did not cause fish kill. So we didn’t issue any warning against fish consumption. We usually do so if a red tide is toxic.

“While investigating the phenomenon we found that it was caused by a species called dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans which does not cause any toxicity. During investigations, we found that 7,000 cells per litre of this species were present in Omani waters which is quite high but it did not cause any fish kill. It causes fish kill only when it reaches 20,000 cells per litre. Fish kill also happens due to reduced oxygen levels and presence of high amount of ammonia in water.”

Ali said, “Red tides occur in Omani waters especially between September and March when the sea surface temperature starts going down. Several aquatic micro organisms cause the red tide phenomenon. When these organisms find conditions favourable, they bloom. There is no way to control it as it is a natural phenomenon but it is possible to monitor it.”

Harmful red tides were reported in 2008 and 2009.

“After those two years, there were no reports of fish kill or any toxicity during the red tide phenomenon,” he said.

Red tides have occurred in Omani waters five times this year including three in Muscat, and one each in Sohar and Shinas.

“In 2013, it occurred 19 times in different places across Oman, and four times each in 2010 and 2011 and none were toxic. No incidents of red tide were reported in 2012.”

Ali said that the investigators found thousands of shells washed up on the Majaz beach coinciding with the red tide occurrence. “We found around 400 sea shells swept ashore every square metre up to a kilometre. We thought that it might be because of the red tide but it was not.

“Those juvenile sea shells were carried away by the strong currents during the red tide phenomenon.”