Proliferation of sargassum weed after hurricane

Hannie and/or Theo Smit poseidon at
Fri Feb 7 07:55:07 EST 1997

We are dive operators in Montego Bay, Jamaica (on the north coast) and very
much involved in the Montego Bay Marine Park.  One of the problems that we
encounter on some of the reefs in Montego Bay, and from personal observation
it also occurs in Negril is the recurring presence of sargassum weed every
winter, starting from november when it starts to transform the reef into
something more resembling an algae meadow until the end of april when the
winterstorms have beaten all life out of it. 
I apologize for this non-scientific approach, I may not know the latin
names, but I am very concerned about what happens in our reefs.

The problem is that this type of algae was non existent to rare on our reefs
prior to hurricane Gilbert. This hurricane did not do too much damage to the
coral structures here, but actually cleaned some areas of other type of
algae.  It hit in September 1988 and in November of the same year we saw our
first massive overrun with sargassum weed, and it has been repeated every
winter since that year.  Some of the areas that have more offshore currents
coming in are not as badly affected as the reefs with relatively little
current activity.

Is there anyone who has done studies on this type of algae, the way it is
spread and perhaps even has suggestions as to how to get rid of it???
Probably to much to ask for, but anyone with suggestions can e-mail us
(unless it is of interest to the whole list) at poseidon at

We are gratefull for any suggestions on literature, publications etc.
dealing with this matter.

Hannie Smit
Poseidon Divers Montego Bay Jamaica
poseidon at
Montego Bay Marine Park: http//

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