Ministry Cites Sargassum Seaweed Environmental Advantages

August 4, 2015



ROAD TOWN, Tortola – The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour is confirming that the Sargassum Seaweed that has washed along the Territory’s beaches and shorelines has many benefits and advantages to fisheries in the Virgin Islands.

Acting Deputy Chief Conservation and Fisheries Officer, Mervin Hastings said that the Sargassum provides a nursery for many species of fish and is similar to a mangrove system, as mangroves are important nurseries for fish, crab, turtles and other marine creatures.

The seaweed provides a similar function to that of the mangroves. Unfortunately the smell can be unwanted and lingering, especially after the seaweed washes to shore. However, while there are other efforts in place now, for cleaning the beaches, we want to continue to encourage persons to wait two to three weeks after the sea weed has washed ashore before collecting it,” Hastings said.

The floating brown seaweed is a marine algae that originates from the Sargasso Sea which is a region in the Gyre of the North Atlantic Ocean.

The sargassum is commonly found on beaches and shorelines throughout tropical areas worldwide and undergoes seasonal cycles of growth and decay due to changes in sea temperature that may or may not be attributed to climate change.




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