TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA/NBC News Channel) – Beachgoers have been reporting mounds of seaweed washing up on the shore of South Florida beaches.
Scientists say record amounts are choking the coasts of the Atlantic and the Caribbean.
“I’ve never seen it like this. Never,” said Gigi Rodriguez, a beachgoer.
Sargassum seaweed is back. On Monday, most people on the beach were staying on the sand, trying to avoid the soggy situation in the water.
“It’s all over the place. We tried to go farther but the farther you get the more seaweed you’re gonna get all over,” said Tana Suarez, another beachgoer.
Besides being a nuisance, some experts said they’re seeing more of the brown algae than usual across the entire Atlantic.
“The month of June in 2022 had a record high sargassum amount compared to any previous year,” said Chuanmin Hu, a professor at USF Optical Oceanography Lab.
June 2022 had a record high sargassum amount compared to any previous year, according to Hu.
The professor is with the University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Lab. According to their research reported, over 24 million tons of sargassum were found across the Atlantic in June, compared to 18.8 million tons in May.
Seasonal seaweed is nothing new, as it’s been creeping up since 2011.
Hu said climate change might be at play, as warmer waters could be causing higher algae blooms. Runoff from fertilizers, currents and wind could also play a factor.
Some cities have tried to clean up the seaweed, but it’s expensive and can cause erosion.
Studies on converting the seaweed in to natural fertilizer or something we can use are in the works, but more research is being done.