A recent report by researchers at the University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Lab has provided good news for Florida beaches, as the massive seaweed bloom that was expected to hit earlier this year has significantly decreased in size. According to the report for October, there was an estimated 150,000 metric tons of sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean Sea throughout the month, and much of it had dissipated by the end of October. There was also very little sargassum overall in the Gulf of Mexico, and nearly half of the sargassum in the Central Atlantic was situated west of the African coast.
These abundances are much smaller compared to recent years, even for this time of year. Scientists believe minimal sargassum will be present in all regions in November. They also indicated that if there is going to be a new sargassum bloom for 2024, the first indications will appear in December.
Earlier this year, concerns were raised about the potential impact on Florida beaches when scientists were worried about a mass of seaweed stretching from Africa to the Gulf of Mexico known as The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt. However, according to this latest report, these concerns have been alleviated as significant amounts of seaweed have significantly decreased in size and become less problematic.
In June and July, there were indications that the seaweed was shrinking and moving further away from Florida beaches. This is a positive development as scientists were concerned about a toxic gas that can be harmful for people with respiratory issues and Vibrio bacteria which can cause flesh-eating infection that may occur due to contact with contaminated water or seafood. Scientists are closely monitoring