Stop Seaweed Invasion From Strangling Coastal Ecosystems

Target: María Luisa Albores González, Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources for Mexico

Goal: Invest in efforts to combat rise of sargassum seaweed on Mexican beaches.

Over 32,000 tons of sargassum seaweed are expected to pile up on just one Caribbean beach. Other beaches in this region and the Gulf of Mexico will experience similar inundation, continuing a troubling rise in the free-floating brown seaweed. The substance has a complicated history, as sea-farers’ reports of its obstructive presence helped inspire legends of the Bermuda Triangle and the Devil’s Triangle. But sargassum, in moderation and in its natural ocean habitat, is a beneficial ecosystem and breeding ground for marine organisms. The recent onslaught along coastlines is capable of wreaking environmental havoc, however.

For one, its great masses and tangles make beaches less of an egg-laying refuge for animals like sea turtles. In addition, it obscures sunlight and kills crucial sea plants and coral reefs. And perhaps most destructive of all, the seaweed sucks oxygen away from coastal marine habitats, essentially suffocating both plants and animals. Warming oceans and enhanced nitrogen levels are believed to be primary drivers behind this outbreak, demonstrating the destructive domino effect human-caused climate change is facilitating.

While labor-intensive manual removal of this seaweed has traditionally served as the main plan of action, barriers like exclusion and sediment curtains have recently gained traction. These structures can be installed at select locations in a minimally invasive manner that will help keep sargassum at sea and away from coasts. The most effective structures are built in a manner that does not require detrimental nets and does not prohibit the free passage of sea life.

Sign the petition below to urge affected regions to invest in these important aids.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Albores Gonzalez,

The onslaught of sargassum seaweed poses a threat to tourism and to the beautiful marine environment for which this country’s coastlines are renowned. The substance makes beaches unsightly and foul-smelling. More importantly, it can kill coastal marine life.

Manual cleanup cannot keep up with the demand. New innovations and approaches are needed. One important tool that deserves heightened consideration is the exclusion or sediment curtain: a structure that when installed and moored does not destroy the seaweed but instead keeps it in its free-floating form where it benefits marine habitats. These structures can be deployed without causing environmental harm themselves, but the investment must be made.

Please support eco-conscious solutions to this increasingly urgent problem for the sake of economic and environmental health.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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