Red tides of the naked dinoflagellate Gyrodinium aureolum Hulburt occurred in sealochs in the north of the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, during late September 1980. Greatestconcentrations of the organism were found in the top 1 m layer of the water column, which was stabilized, and probably also enriched with nutrients, by freshwater input fromland drainage. In addition vertical and horizontal concentration must be postulated toexplain Gyrodinium cell densities of 2 x to7 cells I"1 and chlorophyll concentrations of 2228 mg m“”3 near the shore at Otter Ferry, Loch Fyne.
On 28 September 1980, water containing the red tide at Otter Ferry was unintentionally pumped into fish ponds at a shore-based salmon farm and resulted in the death, in one pond, of 3000 salmon each weighing about 1 kg and of 200–300 smolts in another when water was transferred to it from the affected pond. Pathological investigation of affected salmon showed that death was likely to have resulted from asphyxiation and osmotic shock as a result of extensive cellular damage to gills and guts. Results of mouse bioassays, using acidic and ether extracts of flesh and guts from affected salmon, suggest that necrotizing toxin(s) was associated with the cells of Gyrodinium aureolum during the bloom. The clinical signs exhibited by mice injected with toxin extracts were, however, unlike those caused by paralytic shellfish poison or toxins of the Gymnodinium breve type.