Sargassum seaweed invasion expected

COLE BAY–Nature Foundation has issued a warning about a potential influx of Sargassum seaweed in the coming weeks, based on data collected from monitoring efforts across the region.

In the case of an influx, a way must be found to coordinate the removal of the seaweed, as heavy loaders pose serious risks to nesting sea turtles and hatchlings while the grass itself can be a hazard to the animals, said Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.

Economically speaking, the seagrass can have “serious effects” on the beaches. As soon as the grass is cleared, it is 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 is a genus of brown (class Phaeophyceae) seaweed which is distributed throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world.

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