Nature Foundation warns of potential Sargasso seaweed invasion

PHILIPSBURG — The St. Maarten Nature Foundation is warning of the potential of large amounts of Sargasso seaweed washing ashore on local beaches resulting in a situation similar to that of 2011-2012 and 2014-2015, where beaches were closed due to a large influx of the seaweed.

Based on satellite data and communication with conservation management organizations in the Caribbean, the Nature Foundation warned that there was a potential of Sargasso seaweed to once again affect the area.

“We have been receiving updates from satellites and pilots in the area as well as from conservation organizations with whom we work closely, that there is again a potential for Sargasso seaweed causing problems for the region. Especially last year, St. Maarten and other islands in the region had to deal with a large influx of the seaweed with beaches being closed and on some islands harbors being very negatively affected. We are keeping a close eye on ocean currents and prevailing winds and we hope that the majority of the Sargasso will stay away from the local area, but we wanted to give a head’s up in any case,” commented Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.

Sargasso is a genus of brown (class Phaeophyceae) seaweed, which is distributed throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world. Most of the Sargasso seaweed lies concentrated in the Sargasso Sea, a region in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean surrounded by ocean currents. It is bordered on the west by the Gulf Stream; on the north, by the North Atlantic Current; on the east, by the Canary Current; and on the south, by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current.

Sargasso seaweed plagued the Caribbean and St. Maarten over recent years with the Foundation warning swimmers to avoid swimming in Guana Bay, and other beaches due to the large amount of Sargasso seaweed. Many beach front residences and hotels had to continuously clean washed-up seaweed. The Foundation is in close contact with experts in the region in developing an early warning system to warn residents and governments of the possible influx of Sargasso seaweed.

The Nature Foundation will continuously monitor the status of the Sargasso seaweed and notify authorities if there is an imminent risk of a large influx of Sargasso in the St. Maarten area.

Source: 721 news Nature Foundation warns of potential Sargasso seaweed invasion