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Bioluminescence Phenomenon Prompts Manhattan Beach Police To Up Patrols

MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA) – Police in Manhattan Beach this weekend will increase patrols in beach areas in response to the bioluminescent nighttime neon glow in Southern California's ocean waters which has drawn large numbers of visitors over the past several weeks. Their actions are also in anticipation of this being the first full weekend that Los Angeles County beaches will be open since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close.

Bioluminescent Waves At Newport Beach
People stand on the beach at night to watch the waves glow blue due to bioluminescence on April 24, 2020 in Newport Beach, California. Bioluminescence is a phenomenon caused by certain kinds of phytoplankton associated with red tide. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

All L.A. County beaches reopened Wednesday after having been closed for several weeks. Although the beaches themselves are open for active use, the Strand, the Manhattan Beach Pier and beach parking lots remain closed.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, police will hike patrols around downtown Manhattan Beach, El Porto, and the Strand in order to dissuade gatherings.

They will also direct traffic along the busy Ocean Drive.

"The additional personnel will be responsible for restricting visitor access to the Strand and beach and also help re-direct vehicular traffic in problem areas such as Ocean Drive," police said in a news release.

All L.A. County beaches will operate under normal hours, and chairs, canopies, coolers and grills will not be permitted. Sunbathing, gathering and any organized games, like beach volleyball, are also not allowed.

The bioluminescence, also known as "red tide," is caused by an algal bloom: a large concentration of microorganisms in the water. It's unclear how long the algal blooms will remain.

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