Increased potential for Sargassum invasion | THE DAILY HERALD


COLE BAY–Nature Foundation has issued a warning of a potential significant influx of Sargassum seaweed in the coming days. The foundation has coordinated monitoring efforts with regional partners and, based on weather predictions, satellite imagery and aerial surveys “a significant amount of the seaweed is headed in our general vicinity.”

The foundation has been trying to work with regional partners and local stakeholders to monitor the situation and to find a way to control the amount of the weed washing up on beaches in the case of a significant influx.

“In the case of an influx we need to find a way to coordinate the removal of the seaweed with heavy loaders, which causes serious risks to nesting sea turtles and hatchlings, while the grass itself can be a hazard to the animals. Uncoordinated seaweed removal can also cause significant erosion on affected beaches,” said Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.

Economically speaking, seagrass can have a serious effect on the island’s beaches. As soon as the grass is cleared it is being deposited back on the beach by the wind and currents.

“We will continue to work towards researching the effects of the grass and some possible solutions, but at this point St. Maarten, like many islands in the Caribbean, is being heavily impacted,” said Bervoets.

Sargassum first plagued the Caribbean and St. Maarten in 2011 and 2012, with the foundation having to warn swimmers to avoid swimming in Guana Bay in August and September due to the large amount of Sargassum weed, and many beachfront residences and hotels having to continuously clean washed up Sargassum.

Source: The Daily Herald