This is an excerpt from a news report from St John's in 2012......
When scientists speak of the Sargasso Sea, which occupies part of the Atlantic Ocean, there is usually little mention of things drifting out because of the immobile currents.
That is until now. Over the past few weeks, seaweed from the Sargasso Sea has been making its way towards the Caribbean, washing up en masse on beaches as surrounding currents change with weather and temperature patterns.
It’s a situation that is posing serious problems for local ecosystems and critical industries such as tourism and fishing.
“It’s the first time in history that I or anyone in the fishermen association have seen so much sargassum weed invading our shores,” Gerald Price, communications officer for the Antigua and Barbuda Fishermen Association, told IPS.
“The general public is advised that while this new invasion is a nuisance, it poses no immediate threat to human health but all must exercise due care and caution if working continuously and directly within its environs. The sulphurous odour associated with it is primarily a result of decaying processes once the weed becomes stagnant in an area and is allowed to die.”
Price explained that the impact was also severe in the tourism sector after the sargassum weeds washed ashore, creating a “nasty stink” and driving tourists away from the beaches in a country which promotes itself as having 365 beaches – one for each day of the year.
The upscale St. James’s Club Resort and Villas located on a 100-acre peninsula on the southeastern coast of Antigua was forced to close its doors for several weeks late in 2011 as management devised ways to cope with the sargassum weed that has overtaken many beaches on the east and southeast coasts.
The hotel’s vice president, Alex Debretto, said the resort has employed more than two dozen people to clear the beaches.
Apart from Antigua and Barbuda, the seaweed has also affected other Caribbean islands, including Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Bartholomew.