Sargassum Accumulation Information
There is potential for heavy Sargassum to impact Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Martin County, and Palm Beach County coastline. Each county's representatives and subject matter experts meet bi-weekly to share updates on observations and efforts to mitigate Sargassum accumulation.
Provided by the Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Labaratory|NOAA|U.S Dept. of Commerce
WHAT IS SARGASSUM?
Sargassum is a floating brown algae, commonly called “seaweed.” These algae float at the sea surface, never attach to the sea floor, and can aggregate to form large mats in the open ocean.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SARGASSUM TO OCEAN ECOSYSTEMS?
Sargassum, in average amounts, provides habitat, food, protection, and breeding grounds for hundreds of diverse marine species, including commercially important species, such as tuna and swordfish, that feed on the smaller marine life present in Sargassum mats. If Sargassum reaches the coast in small/normal quantities, it may help to avoid beach erosion.
WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS OF SARGASSUM WASHING ASHORE?
Out at sea, Sargassum is an essential habitat for fish, sea turtles, and other marine organisms. Still, as it accumulates close to the coastlines, it can smother valuable corals, seagrass beds, and beaches. As it washes ashore, the seaweed decays, attracting flies and other insects. Additionally, Sargassum's breakdown produces hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells of rotten eggs, repelling beachgoers and affecting the tourism industry that depends on pristine ocean conditions. Sargassum can also impact navigation, block water intake in desalination plants, and impact benthic ecosystems after/if they sink to the bottom of the ocean.
Read more on Sargassum.