Seaweed on Caribbean beaches causes tourists to cancel holidays

Authorities across the Caribbean are working hard to clean up huge piles of smelly rotting seaweed on their beaches that are causing tourists to cancel their holidays.

The brown seaweed, called sargassum, has long washed up on Caribbean coastlines.


However, algae blooms have risen sharply in extent and frequency in recent years, causing the seaweed to smell bad. In worse news for tourists, the seaweed also attracts biting sand fleas, which can cause itchy red sores.

This year’s seaweed crisis is being called the worst yet – with a number of beaches so badly hit that summer holidays have been cancelled and lawmakers on Tobago are referring to it as a “natural disaster”.

Authorities are trying to solve the seaweed problem before the tourist season begins in December Due to the high heat, humidity and rainfall during the summer months, peak tourist season in the Caribbean is usually between mid-December and April.

Many Caribbean nations rely heavily on tourism, and some officials are now calling for an emergency meeting of the 15-nation Caribbean Community, in an effort to sort out the tourist-repelling stinking seaweed.

“This has been the worst year we’ve seen so far. We really need to have a regional effort on this because this unsightly seaweed could end up affecting the image of the Caribbean,” said Christopher James, chairman of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association.

There are multiple theories about the origin of the seaweed boom, including rising ocean temperatures and changing currents, both the product of climate change.

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