Sargassum seaweed spotted washing ashore

While there is fish aplenty for the Easter weekend, Barbadians will also have to cope with another visitor from the sea, one which may not so welcome to some.
Sargassum Seaweed, which is quickly becoming a yearly sight during the summer months, has already begun washing up on the shores of the island in small quantities.
In fact, those walking on the Richard Haynes Boardwalk yesterday morning were able to see, what could have been the first set of the vegetation for the year, as not only was some of the seaweed underfoot, but larger sections were easily visible in the South Coast’s waters making its way inland pulled by the tide.
The sight drew the concern of several tourists, some who believed at first that the sight was an oil spill.
The seaweed originates from the Sargasso Sea, which is found in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and floats atop the water. While smaller amounts were the norm, over the past five years, tons of the vegetation have washed up on the shores of Caribbean islands, blanketing beaches and creating headaches for the fisheries and tourism sectors.
While uncertain as to whether the region would be again inundated with the seaweed this year, one official from the Coastal Zone Management Unit said the early appearance was being monitored.
Regional hoteliers have spent millions of dollars collectively removing the sargasso, which emits a pungent smell when decaying and several countries have started developing comprehensive plans to address the issue.
Earlier this year, Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism Milton Haughton was reported as saying that the phenomena had been very disruptive to the fishing industry and highlighted that in the same way those persons in the Gulf of Mexico had developed technologies and ways of utilizing it beneficially, including using it as fertilizers and a number of other things, so too must the Caribbean region. (JMB)


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