Fisheries officer says community effort needed to help with sargassum

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By Latrishka Thomas

The Antigua and Barbuda Fisheries division is calling on residents to join in the cause toward alleviating the level of impact of sargassum seaweed on the twin island.

The sargassum seaweed has been once again making its way along the coastlines of Antigua and Barbuda and is particularly prevalent around Guiana Island at this time.

The acting Deputy Chief Fisheries Officer, Tricia Lovell told OBSERVER media that “there’s really nothing we can do in terms of stopping it from coming because the issue is actually coming from outside our region and unfortunately it seems like this is just going to be the new normal.”

She further said that “It’s really about if you’re seeing large masses coming in, just alerting authorities.”

Lovell is also calling on residents of Antigua and Barbuda to assist in the sargassum clean up.

“We do have a bulletin that is published online through the Department of Environment that kind of gives an indication as to what to expect for this season. Unfortunately, this is going to be a very active year again, so it’s just for people to be vigilant and we need all hands on deck in terms of cleaning up,” she added.

Last year, the highly invasive orange-brown seaweed forced the closure of several hotels in the country for weeks, because the decaying sargassum releases hydrogen sulfide, a potentially harmful gas that emits an unbearable stench.

The all-inclusive St. James’s Club at Mamora Bay was inundated with the seaweed such that it was forced into an unscheduled three-month closure from July 1st to October 1st 2018.

In addition to the putrid smell, Lovell is reminding the public that the seaweed is hazardous to marine life.

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