Sargassum seaweed sightings increase in the Caribbean, warns marine ecologist

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Sargassum seaweed sightings increase in the Caribbean, warns marine ecologist.

Antiguan Marine Ecologist Ruleo Camacho alerts to the growing presence of Sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean, with indications of this trend continuing.

Camacho’s report, covering the first quarter of the year, cites data from the University of South Florida Optical Oceanography Lab, which monitors Sargassum blooms via satellite imagery.

Their findings reveal a rise to 9 million metric tons in February, the second-highest amount recorded. However, March saw a decrease to around 6.5 million metric tons, potentially influenced by cloud cover in the Western Atlantic affecting estimation accuracy.

Despite this decline from February, which echoes patterns from 2018’s record Sargassum levels, Camacho notes that March 2024’s observed amount surpasses 75% of all previous years. This signals a worsening and more frequent presence of Sargassum in the region.

Camacho emphasizes the ongoing impact on the Eastern Caribbean due to significant Sargassum amounts in the Atlantic and its westward drift. He urges proactive, non-destructive mitigation strategies by stakeholders to address the issue.

While efforts are underway, Camacho cautions that without effective practices to minimize Sargassum’s harm, both the environment and human well-being will continue to suffer.

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