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(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – The National Environment Planning Agency (NEPA) is advising the public and beach operators, including hoteliers, to expect an influx of brown seaweed, known as, Sargassum in the coming weeks along the north and south coast of the island.
“The floating mats of seaweed have been spotted offshore Jamaica with some beaches already being impacted, such as Hellshire Beach in St Catherine and Long Bay in Portland,” said NEPA in a release today.
The environmental agency said the influx of seaweed is believed to be related to increased growth accumulation in the Atlantic Ocean, where nutrients and available temperatures are high.
“The seaweed consolidates into large mats and is transported by ocean currents through the Caribbean , washing up on beaches throughout the region,” said NEPA.
The agency warned that as the seaweed decomposes on the seashore there may be “offensive odor and it will also attract insects”.
It further recommended that leaving the seaweed on the beach is the simplest and lowest cost solution.
However, NEPA said proper procedure should be followed if the seaweed is to be removed from the beach.
The agency provided the following guide:
1. Stockpile seaweed
2. Turn the material occasionally o encourage drying and the ultimate shaking-off of sand.
3. Return sand to the beach
4. Dispose of the organic material.