Massive Effort to Rid Bonaire Coast of Sargassum Seaweed

lagun sargassum

Both the Lagun bay and the Sorobon areas have been invaded by massive amounts of Sargassum. Photo: Stinpa

Kralendijk- There is an ever bigger effort and a rush against time to rid the coast of Bonaire of Sargassum, before the unwanted seaweed start to take a toll on marine life in the affected areas.

According to volunteers, the amounts of Sargassum are huge and so far they have been able to remove only a part of the seaweed which ended up on the coast in various parts of the island. The situation has even prompted local government to grant government workers off tomorrow and the day after, if they decide to help volunteer to combat the effect of the Sargassum.

According to information sent out by Stinapa, days of severe storms up north in the Caribbean has caused Sargassum to drift towards Bonaire, with even more expected in the days ahead.

Sargassum is a brown algae that makes up the floating sea weed mats known as the Sargasso Sea in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. In the open ocean, these floating mats are extremely diverse, providing important habitat for over 250 species of fish and invertebrates, many of which are not found anywhere else. Sometime a piece of the mat breaks off and travels to the Caribbean where it ends up on our shorelines.

Once the sargassum hits the shore, it either washes up, or accumulates, sinks and rots. When it rots, all of the oxygen gets used up and hydrogen sulfide forms, both of which cause massive die-offs of marine life. A lot of baby turtles, lobsters and fish may be killed as a result of this. According to Stinapa, action is order to free any live trapped creatures (e.g. sea turtles, hatchlings, eels and other fishes and invertebrates).

STINAPA, the Public Entity of Bonaire and volunteers were busy again all day today, but due to the huge amounts of the Sargassum, the effect of all the hard work was still limited.

Volunteers willing to help are advised to show up at Sorobon tomorrow morning with gloves and a bucket or container for collecting the marine creatures. People with shovels rakes and wheelbarrows are very welcome to help get rid of the seaweed in the water and along the coast. In the meantime the Government has also made an appeal of owners of trucks and bulldozers to lend a hand in the effort to combat the seaweed.

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