Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Easter disappointment: The seaweed is back

...and posing a threat to turtle hatchlings

weed woes: A section of Mayaro Beach that was littered with Sargassum seaweed on Easter Monday. -Photo: TREVOR WATSON

The Sargassum seaweed has returned to foul the beaches of Trinidad and coastal visitors and fishermen are being ask to exercise caution.

The warning comes from chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Terry Rondon.

According to Rondon, the reddish brown marine plant is floating again in larger amounts than previously seen.

He said that the regional corporation is cleaning the seaweed from the beaches in anticipation of the new arrival of the turtle hatchlings.

“There are more than last time and we are trying to clean it as much as we can because as you know this is turtle nesting season and we want the hatchlings to make it out safe and not get trapped in the piles of seaweed. So we have hired more workers to come out on the beaches to clean,” he said.

Sargassum seaweed lie scattered across the sand of Mayaro Beach over the Easter weekend. -Photo: TREVOR WATSON

Rondon said that no heavy machinery are on the beach as a means to have nesting sites kept safe.

He said that the extra workers and equipment will cost the regional corporation an additional $40,000 per fortnight.

He said that fishermen will also be affected by the sea weed and warned that they take precautions when going out to sea.

Rondon said that along the stretch of Matura beach there has been a heavy presence of the seaweed.

Mayaro beach has also had an influx of the sargassum as well.

The coastal plants is a free floating seaweed that drifts in the open ocean, it provides migratory species with refuge and is a major food source to herbivorous animals which in turn attracts the carnivores.

Every year, beaches are littered with the plants being washed ashore which blankets the shorelines.

The seaweed, once beached, decomposes and rot, producing a foul scent.