Invasion of Sargasso Seaweed prompts closure of Guana Bay and Gibbs Bay

Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication and Nature Foundation discuss closing Guana Bay and Gibbs bay Beaches due to invasion of Sargasso Seaweed

Due to the large amount of seaweed washed ashore on Guana Bay Beach and Gibb’s Bay, the Nature Foundation has approached the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication in order to discuss the closing those beaches to swimming until further notice.


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The Seaweed, known as Sargasso Weed, has been plaguing the Caribbean and St. Maarten for some weeks. The resulting large influx of Sargasso Weed is due to a suspected southward shift in the Gulf Stream, which has pushed the Sargasso Sea– an area of the Atlantic Ocean where SargassoWeed is in a thick concentration. Initially Government and the St. Maarten Nature Foundation were in discussions on how to remove the seaweed from the beaches, however based on Aerial Surveys, which were recently conducted, there is still a significant amount of Sargasso Weed headed in the direction of the Windward Islands rendering a cleanup futile at this present time.

There were initial concerns that the decomposing seaweed on the beach could be detrimental to the public. Based on studies, conducted by the Nature Foundation, once the Sargasso weed is out of the water and drying out it simply decomposes like any other seagrass. The Nature Foundation has also removed patches of the seaweed from areas on both beaches were there are presently sea turtle eggs incubating, "we have removed the seaweed from the turtle nests and will wait until they are closer to being ready to hatch. Once we arrive at this period we will remove the eggs and free the hatchlings on a beach where there is no weed present so that they will make it to the sea safely, "commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Marine Park Manager.

The Nature Foundation is deeply concerned about the safety of swimmers and advises the public in general, that one should refrain from swimming in both Guana Bay and Gibbs Bay. This due to the possible risk of entrapment in the thick mixture of seaweed and garbage in the water.