Large mass of seaweed threatens Caribbean tourism

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

A massive collection of seaweed that is said to have grown in the Atlantic Ocean is making its way toward Florida’s shores and other Gulf of Mexico coastlines, potentially depositing deadly masses over beaches and significantly affecting the summer travel season.

It is said that the seaweed, a variety called sargassum, has long generated substantial blooms in the Atlantic.

According to reports, scientists have been monitoring significant accumulations since 2011, but this year’s sargassum mass spans more than 5,000 miles from the coast of Africa to the Gulf of Mexico.

Reports say it could be the largest on record.

According to Dr. Brian Lapointe, a researcher at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, the blob is currently pushing west and will pass through the Caribbean and up into the Gulf of Mexico during the summer.

He said that the seaweed is expected to become prevalent on beaches in Florida around July.

He further mentioned that in Barbados, locals were clearing the beaches of seaweed using 1,600 dump trucks per day to make them suitable for tourists and recreation on the beaches.

He also noted that this new phenomenon of the ocean is harming tourism in the Caribbean where it accumulates on beaches up to 5 or 6 feet deep.

Lapointe said that the sargassum bloom this year started to emerge early and doubled in size between December and January, adding that it was greater in January than it has ever been since this new zone of sargassum development began in 2011.

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