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Bermuda not expected to be impacted by massive sargassum ‘blob’

Ryan Renfroe, a local farmer takes advantage of free fertilizer courtesy of the seaweed washed up at Tobacco Bay Beach (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Enormous masses of seaweed are expected to bury Caribbean beaches this summer after an unusually large sargassum bloom – but Bermuda is not expected to be impacted.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said: “These sargassum blooms have occurred at much lower latitudes since 2011 and are problematic in the Caribbean.

“The species responsible – sargassum natans VIII – seems not to persist at our latitude.”

Large amounts of sargassum have been reported most years in the Caribbean, creating environmental, ecological and economic challenges for many countries in the region.

However this year’s sargassum bloom is expected to be larger than usual, creating a mass of seaweed estimated to stretch more than 8,000km.

The bloom could begin to impact the region this month.

Media reports of the massive sargassum “blob” stemmed from satellite information gathered by Sargassum Watch, produced by Chuanmin Hu of the University of South Florida.

The Government spokesman said: “Sargassum Watch also monitors a sizeable area around Bermuda for Sargassum and supplements the long oceanographic time series run at BIOS to help understand changes in the ocean around us.

“The information produced is available online at the University of South Florida website.

“The Ministry can also advise that in response to changes in the types of sargassum in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic, Robbie Smith, Bermuda's Natural History Museum curator, has conducted extensive at-sea work on sargassum from 2012 to 2018 and continues to monitor and document what occurs with all the Sargassum strandings around Bermuda.”

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Published March 24, 2023 at 6:39 am (Updated March 24, 2023 at 6:39 am)

Bermuda not expected to be impacted by massive sargassum ‘blob’

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