VIDEO: Brown Seaweed Washing Up On Space Coast Beaches Causing Quite A Stink

By  //  May 15, 2018

ABOVE VIDEO: Brown seaweed is washing up on Brevard County beaches. Fox 35’s Derrol Nail reports. (Fox 35 Video)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Residents and tourists along the beaches in Brevard County have noticed brown seaweed washing up on the shores in recent days.

Fox 35‘s Derrol Nail reported on the matter and the amount of seaweed washing up on the beaches is quite remarkable.

“Miles of beaches along the Space Coast are covered in a brown spongy carpet of seaweed that in some places is more than several feet thick, according to city officials,” said Nail.

“The Sargassum seaweed is a natural marine plant that grows out in the open ocean, but city officials say winds and currents driven by the low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico are washing the spongy organisms onshore.”

Nail said city officials have no plans to remove the seaweed because it helps support marine life.

“We checked with officials in Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, and Port Canaveral and all three say that as of Monday, there are no plans to remove the seaweed off the beaches. Officials say the seaweed harbors marine life that birds, crabs, and turtles feed on.”

NOAA says Sargassum is abundant in the ocean.

Upon close inspection, it is easy to see the many leafy appendages, branches, and round, berry-like structures that make up the plant. These “berries” are actually gas-filled structures, called pneumatocysts, which are filled mostly with oxygen, NOAA says.

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Pneumatocysts add buoyancy to the plant structure and allow it to float on the surface.

Floating rafts of Sargassum can stretch for miles across the ocean.

This floating habitat provides food, refuge, and breeding grounds for an array of critters such as fishes, sea turtles, marine birds, crabs, shrimp, and more.

However, when Sargassum seaweed washes ashore and begins to decay that is when the smell becomes unpleasant.

“Officials say they also don’t want disturb the beach during turtle nesting season, which began on May 1st and runs until October,” Nail added.

“When the seaweed starts to decay, many tourists liken the smell to rotting fish.”

ABOVE VIDEO: Inside look at the Sargasso Sea.

**Did you know? Sargassum is edible, it’s harvested to feed livestock too, and you can fry, boil, steam or dry it. It’s played a part in Chinese medicine as far back as the 8th century, treating goiters (high iodine content) — and made into tea to control phlegm.**