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Sea weed threatens fishing

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Sea weed threatens fishing

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ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – The seas off Grenada’s eastern and southwestern coasts have turned dirt brown as a rare seaweed invasion chokes marine life in the area and threatens to disrupt fishing here and elsewhere in the Caribbean, prompting a probe by fisheries officers and marine biologists.
Species of sea slug and shrimp that are foreign to the Caribbean Sea have been seen floating with beds of sargassum, the brown algae that have covered the island’s entire Atlantic coast, home to large numbers of fisherfolk, Ministry of Fisheries marine biologist Crofton Isaac said today.
Experts feared that the marine life associated with the sargassum, a rare visitor to the southern Caribbean, adapts to the region’s environment and disrupt fishing across the region.
“We are hoping that they don’t adapt to our environment because this will have negative impact on the entire fishing industry not just in Grenada but the Caribbean,” said Isaac. 
“This invasion has actually disrupted the fishing industry because the seaweeds are getting entangled with fishing equipment and has almost shut down the entire fishing sector in St Andrew,” Isaac said. The eastern parish is home to several fishing communities and the second largest town, Grenville.
But marine experts see a potential benefit from the seaweed invasion. The seaweed can be used as a natural fertilizer. Farmers have been reaping sargussum by the truckload for use on farms. The algae are also sold commercially but Grenada is not one of the countries licensed to conduct the trade. (CMC)