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Sargassum overload


SHERIA BRATHWAITE

Sargassum overload

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Miles of sargassum seaweed stretching from Tent Bay,St Joseph, to the Atlantic Ocean, caught the attention of scores of onlookers yesterday.

Residents, people visiting the area and tourists gathered along the bay from as early as 5 a.m. to watch the seaweed that had enveloped the beach.

Though a volume of seaweed washed up over the past few weeks, residents said this was the biggest influx of algae they had ever seen.

A number of marine animals were also tangled in the seaweed and brave citizens with the help of fishermen and representatives of the Bellairs Research Institute in Barbados,a field station for McGill University of Canada, risked their lives going through the thick seaweed to rescue and catch the marine life. Among the niggerhead and other pot fish caught, about six hawksbill sea turtles were rescued. An undisclosed number of flipper dolphins, eels and congo snakes were also spotted but were dead.

Tent Bay resident Caryl Barrow said the bay was a recreational spot for children who lived in community and feared that the sargassum seaweed would disrupt the resident’s way of living.

Barrow said it was common to see children bathing in the bay after school and during the summer vocation, adding that they would be forced to go elsewhere to have fun.

When contacted general manager of the National Conservation Commission (NCC) Keith Neblett said an usual amount of sargassum seaweed washed up across the beach over the past two or three days.

He said he was aware of volumes of the algae on Crane beach, Bathsheba, Long beach and other beaches along the South Coast and East Coast.

He said a lot of the seaweed was in the surf of the water and the state agency was monitoring how the seaweed settled to conduct clean ups.

Neblett added that a team of NCC workers have been cleaning the South Coast from the time the algae started to wash-up there. (SB)

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