The dreaded Sargassum Seaweed, which has been washing up on beaches across Barbados, is currently proving to be a nuisance for vendors, fishermen and tourists alike in Bathsheba, St Joseph.
On Monday, several sea turtles and other species of marine life had to be rescued by residents and workers from the Bellairs Research Institute, as the brown algae blanketed the picturesque east coast beach venue.
And yesterday when Barbados TODAY visited the area, veteran fisherman Shirley Small, complained that “this is the worst time I have seen seaweed down here.
“Right now I can’t go out and fish mainly because the seaweed is too thick. It will cause more damage to try to go out there, than to relax and let it come and go,” he said, adding that while “it has been a nuisance for the past three years, only yesterday we started to see all of this seaweed.
“The rest of days were so nice, but after the tropical depression, we saw a lot of weed,” he said while making reference to a recent weather system that was threatening to dump heavy showers on the area.
Also bothered by the irksome seaweed was beach vendor Jacqueline Holder, who complained that “the smell is really affecting me”.
“I suffer with sinuses so as I inhale the horrible scent, it also affects my throat very bad. Sometimes it has me coughing a lot.”
However, Holder, who sells jewellery on the beach, said she was currently taking the situation in stride until the seaweed, which generally comes and goes at particular periods of the year, vanishes again.
“Between February and March is when we really started to see this influx, but the sea comes and takes it back out, so sometimes we only need a big wave,” she said.
“It smells awful, but I don’t think we can really do anything about it. When you clean it up, it comes back again and it takes more than just a few people and rakes to remove it, because it is a lot of work. You would have to stop the source of seaweed from the sea to get rid of it, but until then we have to live with it. It is Mother Nature,” she told Barbados TODAY.
However, Small suggested that more could be done on the part of the authorities to control its spread to the island’s beaches.
“We have to deal with it outside where we can get a coup
le boats and trap it out there [at sea], then we can put it on one spot to keep it from coming on the beach where it is a disaster,” he said.
Also commenting on the situation was Victor Barnes, a first-time visitor from the United Kingdom.
Barnes told Barbados TODAY he was concerned about the seaweed’s impact on the island’s main money earner – tourism.
“I came to Barbados to see the beautiful beaches and the seaweed has really spoilt them, but it is nature so you can’t do anything,” he said, while suggesting that machinery should be readily available to clear the beach on a daily basis.