Our beautiful Caribbean Sea is the livelihood of many and residents in Placencia village including tour operators, fishermen and environmentalists are concerned about the visibility in the nearby cayes. There is limited to no visibility in the water that is thirty feet deep to as shallow as one foot.
Theories as to the cause range from effects of the oil spill the Gulf of Mexico last year to earthquakes. However, some preliminary work may suggest that the community may be dealing with an algae bloom.
The waters in the area became opaque sometime in mid June and the first water samples were taken on Tuesday, August 2nd, by officers of the Fisheries Department who visited the affected areas along with representatives of the Southern Environmental Association, SEA and the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment, TIDE.
To date, reports indicate that the situation remains the same in several areas, even though some parts that had been affected are reported to have cleared up. And with the water samples the analysis confirmed what several environmentalists in the Placencia area suspected.
The results of the analysis showed the low visibility in the water is as a result of an algae bloom, specifically one that is composed of green algae of the Genus Chlorella. Chlorella is not toxic or harmful, although it has been suggested that in very large quantities it could affect coral health by restricting the amount of light the corals receive.
This can have a positive effect as it can protect corals from high intensity solar radiation which contributes to ‘coral bleaching,” but the situation has adverse effects on the fishing and tourism industries. Fishermen have been unable to fish for lobsters and other fin fish in affected areas, while popular tourist areas have been inaccessible due to poor water visibility. (News Source: Love FM)