Task force established to rid beaches of sargassum weed

Sargassum surge (Photos: sea.edu & antiguahotels.org)

A sargassum task force has been established by the Department of Tourism and the Department of Environment in an effort to rid beaches of the foul smelling seaweed.

The Department of Environment this week warned that several beaches have again been blanketed with the seaweed and invasions are likely to continue.

It’s reported that beaches along South Sound, East End and Bodden Town were covered in sargassum at various points this week as strong winds out of the southeast pushed brown mats of the weed ashore.

Tim Austin, deputy director of the Department of Environment, said there had also been similar reports in Little Cayman.

He said if scientific assumptions that the abundance of sargassum in recent years was caused by ocean warming and nutrients from pollution were correct, then the trend could be expected to continue.

“There is definitely potential for it to become more and more of a problem,” he said.

Sargassum, which gets its name from the Portuguese word for grape, is a floating brownish algae that generally blooms in the Sargasso Sea, a three million-square-kilometre body of warm water in the north Atlantic that is a major habitat and nursery for numerous marine species.

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