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Seaweed proves difficult to tackle

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The Government pleaded for patience yesterday as it deals with large piles of Sargassum seaweed on Bermuda's beaches.

Seaweed has washed up at numerous spots in the island's first “inundation event” since 2011.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources acknowledged it carried a nuisance value which is difficult to tackle.

A spokeswoman said: “We appreciate the patience of our visitors and local beachgoers as our hotels and the Bermuda Government's parks department and works and engineering crews and private contractors are working to remove as much Sargassum as possible, but some beaches are inaccessible to tractors.”

The spokeswoman reminded the public that seaweed is a natural occurrence that supports hundreds of species of marine invertebrate, fish and sea turtles.

She said: “As a floating plant it is subject to the effects of wind and currents in the ocean that can either disperse or aggregate the plants. We seem to have a period when these forces have conspired to create a significant aggregation, which causes a nuisance on our beaches because of the unusual quantity.

“Sargassum inundations have plagued most of the islands and coastlines in the Caribbean since 2015, but it is caused by a slightly different species of Sargassum, which has not arrived here this year.”

Sargassum also helps stabilise beach sand movement during storms and is a “very useful garden fertiliser”, she said.

“Scores of Bermudians have been harvesting it, although the amount of plastic that has to be removed is disturbing.”

Natural phenomenon: seaweed is shown at the Police Beach in Smith's recently (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Seaweed at the Police Beach in Smith's (Photograph by Aki l Simmons)
Natural phenomenon: seaweed is shown at the Police Beach in Smith's recently (Photograph by Aki l Simmons)

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Published June 20, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated June 20, 2019 at 9:07 am)

Seaweed proves difficult to tackle

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