How do you deal with 9m tonnes of suffocating seaweed?
Written by Anna Turns
Across the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, scientists are developing alternative sustainable solutions to the golden tide of Sargassum
The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt, first detected by Nasa observation satellites in 2011 and now known to be the world’s largest bloom of seaweed, stretches for 5,500 miles (8,850km) from the Gulf of Mexico to the western coast of Africa.
Millions of tonnes of floating Sargassum seaweed in coastal waters smother fragile seagrass habitats, suffocate coral reefs and harm fisheries. And once washed ashore on Mexican and Caribbean beaches, this foul-smelling, rotting seaweed goes on to devastate the tourist industry, prevent turtles from nesting and damage coastal ecosystems, while releasing hydrogen sulphide and other toxic gases as it decomposes.
This enormous amount of biomass is devastating the tourist industry, economy and environment
Related: Wide Sargasso seaweed: 5,500-mile algae belt keeps on growing
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