NewsRegion C Palm Beach CountyWest Palm Beach

Actions

Seaweed problem now the 'new normal'

Posted: 8:00 PM, Jul 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-26 20:00:56-04

THE PERSISTENT SEAWEED PROBLEM WASHING UP ON SOUTH FLORIDA BEACHES THIS SUMMER MAY BE AROUND FOR A WHILE ACCORDING TO ONE RESEARCHER. — The persistent seaweed problem washing up on South Florida beaches this summer may be around for a while according to one researcher.

“It is the new normal,” says Dr. Brian LaPointe of FAU’s Harbor Branch Institute.

LaPointe recently published findings that show the current sargassum bloom to stretch across the Atlantic.

“We refer to this big bloom in the tropical Atlantic ocean as the great Atlantic Sargassum Belt,” LaPointe says.

“The fact is this is worsening and now we have satellite imagery showing how it develops.”

The large blooms are being attributed to fertilizer runoff in North and South America.

LaPointe says the challenge now is to try and find solutions for dealing with the blooms which can discourage beachgoers and hurt tourism.

“This is a major challenge in South Florida right now and what I see happening and I’m getting a lot of inquiries from local politicians and hoteliers and it's clear we have to meet this challenge by adapting to it, meaning management plans for the beach,” LaPointe says.