Travel & Tourism Times
29 November 2019

Seaweed invasion in the Caribbean: know your destination to keep your traveling customers safe

We go to the beach to swim, eat, drink, relax and have fun.  These are some of our favorite things to do particularly while on vacation.  But in recent years our beaches and coastlines from Florida to Barbados have been invaded by Sargassum seaweed!  In fact, some countries like Barbados have declared it a national emergency that threatens tourism and their overall economy.

Seen from a distance the brown leafy bloom washes up like a thick cover across many sandy beaches with no end in sight.  The bloom looks shiny and coppery as if there had been a massive oil spill, but at a closer look you realize that it’s algae and may even see dead wildlife entangled in the seaweed netting.
 
In many Caribbean countries many sea turtles, dolphins and countless fish have perished in this man made ecological disaster.  The seaweed can be several feet deep thus entrapping countless of species in its mortal underwater web.  In recent months more than 700 beaches across the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico have been hit with mass outbreaks of Sargassum on their shoreline. Mexico, Belize, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and the British Virgin Islands have been covered in it, taking a toll on tourism and fishermen alike. Fishermen cannot not go to sea for two or three days or longer as they cannot get their boats out in the water because it is so thick.  In more recent times South Florida, too, has seen its worst outbreak of Sargassum and according to scientists it will only get worse as we continue to pollute our oceans at an alarming rate.   We ALL need to act now to stop the invasion before irreversible damage is done to the ocean wildlife and our coastlines. 

As a travel agent if you are sending your clients to the Caribbean, it is your responsibility to do your due diligence. Be absolutely sure to check with the hotel as to its particular situation with the seaweed to ensure your client can take full advantage of the ocean while on vacation.

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