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Environmental officials say brown slicks are coral spawning and indicate healthy reefs

Act of nature: large strings of coral spawn appeared off South Shore and elsewhere in Bermuda’s waters over the weekend (Photograph supplied)

Plumes of pink and brownish material that appeared over the weekend in the waters off South Shore are from coral spawning and indicate healthy reefs, environmental officials said.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said slicks in the water were “large rafts” of coral spawn seeking “new areas to propagate”.

A spokesman added: “While it may look unsightly, this act of nature is one to be celebrated as it reflects the excellent health of Bermuda’s coral reef system.

“However, it is not advisable to swim or walk through the large thick patches; as the spawn begins to decompose, the smell will become more pungent.

“Also, while swimming near it is generally safe, please use caution as contact with the spawn may result in some sensitivity-related issues in some individuals.”

The coral larvae, known as planulae, float for days or weeks before sinking to the ocean floor.

The releases are affected by water temperature and the lunar cycle.

Depending on the conditions the larvae encounter, the spawning can lead to the growth of new reefs.

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Published August 24, 2022 at 7:44 am (Updated August 24, 2022 at 7:44 am)

Environmental officials say brown slicks are coral spawning and indicate healthy reefs

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