Nature Foundation Informs That Sargasso Seaweed Has Invaded

Since May, the St. Maarten Nature Foundation has been monitoring the shores of local beaches for Sargasso Seaweed. Following its previous warnings of the possible seaweed influx the St. Maarten Nature Foundation would like to inform that the Sargasso Seaweed has made its way to the shores of Dawn Beach, Gibbs Bay, Guana Bay Beach, Little Bay, and Simpson Bay Beach in abundance. Swimmers are warned to exercise caution when swim at Guana Bay Beach and to take caution when swimming at the other beaches.


Sargasso is a genus of brown (class Phaeophyceae) seaweed which is distributed throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world. Most of the Sargasso Seaweed lies concentrated in the Sargasso Sea, a region in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean surrounded by ocean currents. It is bounded on the west by the Gulf Stream; on the north, by the North Atlantic Current; on the east, by the Canary Current; and on the south, by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current.


Sargasso Weed plagued the Caribbean and St. Maarten in 2011 and 2012, with the Foundation having to warn swimmers to avoid swimming in Guana Bay in August and September due to the large amount of Sargasso Weed and many beach front residences and hotels having to continuously clean washed up Sargasso. The resulting large influx of Sargasso Weed has been due to a suspected southward shift in the Gulf Stream, which has pushed the Sargasso Sea– an area of the Atlantic Ocean where Sargasso Weed is in thick concentration, south to our area.


The Nature Foundation warns that the Sargasso Seaweed in itself is not very dangerous; however in the floating mats there might be the presence of garbage and nets which may pose a danger and therefore warns against swimming in beaches such as Guana Bay that is seeing a large influx of Sargasso. The Foundation is also concerned about the effect the Sargasso Weed might have on the Sea Turtle Nesting Season which is now at its peak. Luckily RBC Bank has pledged to keep the islands main nesting beach, Guana Bay, as free of the Seaweed as possible.


The Nature Foundation will continuously monitor the status of the Sargasso Weed and notify the authorities if there is an imminent risk of a large influx of Sargasso in the St. Maarten Area.