Care urged during beach seaweed clearance

| 01/10/2015 | 13 Comments
Raking seaweed on Seven Mile Beach

Raking seaweed on Seven Mile Beach

(CNS): Westerly winds are bringing an influx of sargassum seaweed to Seven Mile Beach but the Department of Environment is urging people to take care when cleaning beaches, especially since it is still turtle nesting season. Officials said that any attempts to clean sargassum must be undertaken extremely carefully as its removal can have a very destabilizing effect on beaches and result in worsened erosion with the removal of sand, particularly if machinery is used. The DoE has now issued guidelines on the best way to clean beaches if necessary.

Conservation experts are urging less intrusive practices for collecting sargassum such as hand raking but any use of machinery requires a letter of approval from the DoE.

“Given that we are still in the active turtle nesting and hatching season, especially along Seven Mile Beach which has the highest density of nests, it is critical that no machinery is taken onto the beach without DoE approval,” advised a DoE spokesperson, who added that hand raking does not require formal permission.

The increase in seaweed throughout this year, most prominently in the Eastern districts and North Side, is related to massive sargassum blooms occurring in particular areas of the Atlantic, not directly associated with the Sargasso Sea, where nutrients are available and temperatures are high.

Sargassum consolidates into large mats and is transported by ocean currents towards and throughout the Caribbean. While its presence can be unpleasant for water-based recreation and can leave an unpleasant smell when it starts to decompose, sargassum is an important nursery habitat that provides shelter and food for endangered species such as sea turtles and for commercially important species of fish.

Given the current weather conditions, local experts expect that seaweed will continue to affect the west coast of Grand Cayman until the middle of next week, after which point the winds are forecast to shift.


Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mother Nature speaking to us here. She’s giving us a little preview of things to come prior to the port-expansion.

  2. Magic Man In The Sky says:

    It is probably God’s punishment for considering same-sex marriage on these islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe what you meant to say is, this is God’s warning for considering a port expansion that will completely destroy our environment – our island’s coral reefs and a good portion of its beaches. Not to mention, all the greed behind this. Is Cayman not already one of the richest countries in the world? There’s got to be even more?

  3. Anonymous says:

    No one had much interest when it was only effecting the east district. Oh but now it’s on precious 7 mile beach…….. Get over it. Buy a few rakes and hire some of the unemployed locals . I mean no disrespect there, just saying. Little hard work is good for the soul.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Little weed didn’t do it. Bill and Ben are guilty.

  5. Just Gimme The Cheese says:

    Shame we can’t smoke it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I hope this is not just lip service, but DOE actually enforcing the need for approval prior to using machinery………..but then, we are talking about a Government dept.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are a few hundred people sitting in a Hotel in Northward, get them out there with a rake, job would be done in a day.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m not so sure taking care to clean the beach for the sake of sea turtles is in line with the government’s thinking. With all the tourists put off by the lack advertised ‘clean, pristine beaches and water’ I’m worried about who will come to buy watches, rings, and other shiny items to ensure a prosperous Cayman for our future generations. Sounds to me like the tree huggers are behind this foolish reasoning to put nature above my need for a new Humvee or BMW. Wake up Cayman and let’s put the rest of god’s world in its rightful place!

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