Sixteen beaches in Tobago are currently being cleared of sargassum seaweed by the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) Division of Agriculture, Marine Affairs, Marketing and the Environment (DAMME).
Trinidad and Tobago are among the Caribbean islands being affected by the phenomenon. Unlike most types of seaweed, sargassum is not attached the ocean floor, and floats about with the sea current. It has affected several areas in Tobago, including Lambeau, Hope and King’s Bay.
During the weekly Post Executive Council media briefing at the Administrative Complex in Calder Hall, Chief Secretary Orville London noted the concerns of Tobagonians, especially fishermen, who are unable to fish due to the large deposits of the seaweed on the beaches and waters off Tobago’s coast, which affects their boats and other equipment.
He said the Division is facing challenges in dealing with the seaweed.
“One of the challenges we have with the seaweed is that it comes up so fast and consistently that to the casual observer it looks as if nothing is happening,” London said.
The Chief Secretary stated that the Division informed him that “despite their best efforts, the seaweed just keeps coming”. The phenomenon, though, “is not going to last indefinitely”, he added.
London said the public could remove the seaweed once they understand the challenges involved, such as salt content and insects, within the brown algae.
He cautioned, however, that DAMME officers will be looking out for persons seeking to take advantage of the situation by sand-mining “under the guise that they are cleaning seaweed.”