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The Government and the Tourism Industry Come Together to Address the Massive Arrival of Algae at the Dominican Coast
Dominican Republic, 7/29/2015

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Ministry of Tourism and the National Association of Hotels and Restaurants (ASONAHORES by its acronym in Spanish) argue that although it is a cyclical situation affecting the Caribbean, actions will be established to counter the effects of the arrival of these algae to the Dominican coast.

The State, through the above-mentioned ministries and ASONAHORES, met to unify actions necessary in order to balance the accumulation of marine algae of the genus Sargassum in different beaches, which regularly affect the Caribbean, part of the United States and Africa.

The increase in algae is not exclusive of Dominican marine waters, but a phenomenon that currently impacts Cuba, Mexico, Barbados and other Caribbean islands, reported for the first time in 2011.

Since mid-August 2014 the event, first described for the Dominican Republic at the same month three years ago (2011), about the unusual arrival of large amounts of brown seaweed - presumably Sargassum fluitans or Sargassum natans species -  has alarmed the population on numerous occasions. Sometimes they even have been mistaken for sawdust oil slick floating on the water.

These two species live normally floating on the surface, forming a very particular community that provides habitat and shelter for fish, small crustaceans and juvenile turtles at some stage of their lives.

The main assumptions that have been heard have linked this phenomenon to climate change: some think that the global increase in temperature of the seas and oceans has changed the currents of the Atlantic; others have speculated that high temperatures have led to the excessive growth of this species, having to deal now with the Saharan dust vector, that serves as nutrients and promotes growth.

The extent of its impact is unknown, it is thought that the large number of these algae should be affecting the health of the ecosystems that are covering, hiding the sun from the water column and seabed, especially in shallow water, and interrupting photosynthesis process normally needed these to survive.

When they died too, this excessive amount of plant material generates an excess of nutrients which in turn causes an explosion of decay organisms that deplete the dissolved oxygen in the water, which all marine life depends on.

Among the economic impacts: sea and fishing transport can be hindered because the propellers of ships can entangle the algae. Tourism could be affected too by such large masses of algae accumulated in a state of decomposition, and odor foul on beach with hedonic purposes.

Source:http://telenoticias.com.do/gobierno-y-asonahores-buscan-intensificar-acciones-en-pro-del-turismo/

Topic(s):    Environmental management