Beachgoers Beware: Masses of Smelly Seaweed Pile Up on South Florida Beaches

What to Know

  • In the recent weeks, large masses of seaweed have been washing up on South Florida beaches
  • Cities have been clearing their beaches by disposing or composting the seaweed
  • This type of seaweed called sargassum attracts critters such as insects and sea lice

If you're heading to the beach this summer, beware of the masses of rotting seaweed washing ashore, attracting creatures and critters to South Florida's beaches.

This type of seaweed is called sargassum, and cities are trying to keep beaches clear of it by disposing it, composting it or mixing it with the sand, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Clearing the seaweed has been a challenge and a struggle to keep up with, Hollywood spokeswoman Raelin Storey told the Sun-Sentinel.

The masses have created blockades up to 2 feet high between the sand and the ocean, forcing swimmers to carefully maneuver their way toward the water. Not only that, sargassum attracts all kinds of critters, such as insects, crabs, sea lice and more.

The brown clusters of branches and berry-like structures can stretch for miles across the ocean, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They drift into the Gulf of Mexico, travel on the Loop Current and reach to the east coast of Florida.

Oceanographers aren't sure why such large heaps of seaweed are reaching the shore, but climate change and ocean pollution are among the theories.

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