The Hong Kong Observatory is studying ways to track red tide using an advanced satellite that would travel through space in an orbit which would take it much closer to Earth and snap higher resolution pictures of the sea. The satellite it currently uses monitors sea temperatures and weather patterns and takes photographs from 36,000 kilometres away, making accurate predictions of red tide difficult. Director Dr Lam Hung-kwan said the Observatory knew little about tracking red tide. It was investigating how to gather information that could be of use to marine biologists in making predictions. 'We're at the very beginning of the process,' he said. 'I think we are a long way from predicting red tides.' Guangdong province has considered linking with Fujian in a warning system which could alert Hong Kong when red tide is spotted along China's southern coast. The move was prompted after an initial investigation found that the red tide striking Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Zhuhai may have originated in Fujian about six months ago. But the absence of a properly constituted reporting system has kept Guangdong in the dark until the red tide hits its coast. At present, the authorities have to rely on reports by local fishermen. Dr Ho Kin-chung, Open University programme leader in environmental studies, said red tape on the mainland had hampered the exchange of information. 'The mainland regards whatever information it has as a national secret; it takes a long time for them to clear and release material,' he said.