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Although the shores around Miami Beach have enticed beachgoers for decades, the crowds have been thinned by an onslaught of foul-smelling seaweed. The seaweed in question, called sargassum, has been washing ashore in higher numbers in recent years.
Sargassum is a natural occurrence, and while it may smell similar to Red Tide, it will not harm any marine life. It has, however, provoked the ire of tourists and local residents.
According to one resident, Aresnio Milian, “we have been suffering the consequences of this sargassum for more than three years; our properties are being devalued, our quality of life is being impacted and tourism in Miami Beach will suffer if this continues.” The city plans to remove it, but it is that really the best course of action?
Scientists say that the sargassum will continue to increase over time. Although it can be annoying to tourists, those weeds are teeming with small marine life. Many young fish, shrimp, crabs, baby turtles, and more spend time developing in this perfect camouflage. The sargassum on shore can also fertilize the sandy dunes.
As there is no evidence that sargassum causes health problems for humans, it might be better to let nature take its course and allow the tourism industry to adapt to the changing environment instead of the other way around.