Sea grass threatens fishing along Suriname coast

(De Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO — Large masses of floating sea grass have affected fishery along the entire coast causing the catch to drop significantly.

Fishermen complain about the situation that has been plaguing them for a month already and the resultant dropping revenues. ‘This will undoubtedly lead to raised prices for fish,’ Mark Lall, secretary of the Fishermen Association (VC), the largest fishermen organization with over 200 registered vessels, says. ‘The situation is such that boats return without catch. The nets are immediately filled with the Sargasso, which looks like small islands from afar. Lall complains the weed is a threat to the sector.

Suriname does not seem to be the only country suffering from this evil. French and Guyanese fishermen have reported similar problems. Scientists say sea grass and seaweed grow on a rocky seabed. From time to time they float up en mass. ‘This is an unprecedented phenomenon because Suriname has no rocky seabed, hydrologist at the Anton De Kom University, Professor Sewnath Naipal explains. French Guiana has a rocky seabed on the western border close to Suriname. The scientist suspects the floating threat has been cut loose by adverse weather conditions. VC reported bad weather at sea this month, which Naipal confirms. He blames the sea grass on an increased flow of polluted water from the Amazon.

Seaweed and sea grass need clear seawater and an abundance of sunlight to grow. Polluted water could have caused the vegetation in French Guiana to die. Storms may have torn it lose from the rocks and carried it towards Suriname. This is a temporary problem in the Caribbean. The Department of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fishery promises to investigate the phenomenon.-.


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