Sargassum seaweed is a brown species of alga that arrives on the shorelines of beaches throughout the Caribbean island region and southern United States every year increasingly and in devastating amounts. Also known as the "Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt", the seaweed is considered the largest micro-algae bloom on the planet weighing in at approximately 20 million tonnes.
The sargassum seaweed bloom has been declared a state of emergency by many island nations in the Caribbean region including the unincorporated territories of the United States, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI's), delivering executive orders to remediate and find solutions to the increasing crisis and damage that is caused annually by the sargassum seaweed.
As the sargassum seaweed crisis worsens, Sustainable Develop LLC has been working to create sustainable long term remediation plans for organizations struggling with the problem.
Sargassum seaweed has an interesting presence in our recent history, noted from the second discovery of North America via Christopher Columbus on his first journey to the New World of North America in 1492, when his ship the Santa Maria was stalled by the Sargasso Sea for a recorded 21 days.
The Sargasso Sea is a complex and not yet fully understood region, located within the Bermuda Triangle made of sargassum seaweed which could be considered as mysterious as the Bermuda Triangle itself. The Sargasso Sea is home to the elusive eel, both American and European which are listed as endangered species, and is the only place on Earth where the eels breed prior to making their journey towards rivers along the North American Eastern seaboard and Europe, only to return again to continue their cycle.
Fast forward to present day in 2023 and sargassum seaweed continues to stall those caught in its path and is currently wreaking havoc on shorelines and their ecosystems, animals, plants, and humans with environmental, safety and health concerns as well as economic devastation from the negative impacts on tourism and real estate industries.
(Sargassum density map credit: NOAA)
When the sargassum seaweed reaches the shoreline and piles into small mountains on beaches, it arrives at rates which have been faster than what technology and human harvesting can maintain. Not only is the quantity and speed at which it arrives has been increasing, there are also major concerns with what to do with it once it has been successfully removed from the shorelines.
Another industry and favorite pastime for many in the Caribbean that is being negatively affected by sargassum seaweed is the sailing and yachting industry. Centuries may have past, but ships are still affected just as Christopher Columbus's Santa Maria was so long ago, by the constraints caused by sargassum seaweed. The seaweed can get lodged in rudders, stall the forward movement of sailing vessels, damage motors, and become trapped within marinas where the vessels are docked.
While the crisis is ongoing and creates huge uncertainties, and is expected to continue to worsen more every year, one thing to rely on is the efforts of the Sustainable Develop team in remediating the impacts of the devastation and providing economical and environmental solutions - which Sustainable Develop believes is the basis of sustainability.
If you are struggling with a sargassum seaweed crisis or are a company working with sargassum seaweed contact the Sustainable Develop team today - We are here to help you.
Director of Business Development, Taylor Widrig