Manzanilla Beach Covered with Seaweed

For over a month now, the brown seaweed (Sargassum) has been washing up on the beach at Manzanilla and as far as the eye can see along the stretch, the entire area is covered with this marine flora. While it is not toxic, it has been posing a problem for the nesting leatherback turtles and their soon to be emerging hatchlings. The Manatee Conservation Trust and its partner, the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago are working to clean the critical nesting habitat with crews operating daily. The turtles are making full use of the cleared areas and the MCT is using the seaweed as mulch and fertiliser for its coconut estate.

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Cocal estate using seaweed as fertiliser

Mounds of Sargassum seaweed which has been washing up on the eastern coastline causing distress to fishermen, sea bathers and others are now being used as fertiliser in the Cocal Estate in Manzanilla by President of the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Guptee Lutchmedial.

Lutchmedial told Newsday when the large deposits of seaweed started becoming a source of concern, he together with ten employees of the Manatee Conservation Trust, located at the Cocal Estate began using a special type of equipment to scrape the shoreline, and have been using the seaweed around the coconut trees in the Cocal Estate to rot and become fertiliser.

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Seaweed ashore

 

A NATURAL disaster in the making is how local government authorities and fisherfolk in east Trinidad are describing a thick blanket of seaweed that has carpeted over 20 miles of the East Trinidad coastline and beachfront.

"This is a real disaster in terms of the fishing industry because you can’t pull in your seine, because it only heavy with seaweed," Esook Ali, president of the Cedros Fishing Association said yesterday.

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Sargassum seaweed good for ecosystem

The Sargassum seaweed smothering the shoreline along the east coast of Trinidad and parts of Tobago can be beneficial to the ecosystem.

According to a document sent by the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), US-based company, Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, conducted research on the sargassum which affected areas in the Gulf of Mexico.

It stated that the brown floating algae is not toxic to humans.

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