FL - Visit Florida Provides Vital Support To Businesses Affected By Sargassum Invasion
Piles of sargassum seaweed have hit Florida shores this season in record numbers causing concern for locals and visitors to the state. So much so that Florida’s official tourism marketing corporation Visit Florida has provided sargassum-related resources to alleviate any concerns.
Two such links for sargassum-related resources are The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sargassum Reports and Florida Department of Health Fact Sheet.
Along with providing real-time sargassum information to travelers, the tourism body is working with other state agencies to suggest inland activities for impacted destinations.
While the seaweed helps with shoreline stability, the stinky rotten egg-smelling seaweed can be dangerous for those with respiratory issues who have prolonged exposure.
The yearly invasion is expected, but this year The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt set new records. The belt has been measured at 13 million metric tons, which is about .1% of the ocean’s surface.
As the bloom is being predicted for June and July. along with Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico will experience major beaching events throughout the summer.
Currently measuring over 5,000 miles wide, twice the width of the United States, beachgoers have experienced the whiff of rotten eggs since Easter Sunday.
The seaweed is home for many marine species and the algae helps with erosion and provides beach plants with nutrients according to an article in 2018 from the University of Florida Museum. It also provides refuge for fish, crabs, shrimp and other smaller organisms.
Managing the influx of seaweed is a two-pronged approach from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The former leads coastal water cleanup while the latter manages sargassum that lands on beaches.
The sargassum invasion has been occurring yearly since 2011, requiring costly cleanups and detouring tourists. Growing in the clear waters of the Sargasso Sea, strong currents bring the mass westward, impacting Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico.