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Update on seaweed on Weymouth Beach

The following question was raised by Cllr Peter Barrow at tonight’s meeting of Full Council:

Q) There has been a great deal of interest in the seaweed accumulating on the beach due to wind and tide conditions. With the school holidays fast approaching please can The Town Clerk update us on the seaweed situation.

The response from the Town Clerk is below:

A) The recent high levels of sea algae were caused by extremely high tides and very strong north-easterly winds. This is a usual occurrence on Weymouth beach. However, the volumes this year have been much, much higher than expected.

Usually, these algal deposits are reclaimed by the next high tide. Unfortunately, the initial high tide and wind combinations have not been repeated and so the deposits have not been returned to the marine environment as usual.

Weymouth Town Council is committed to positive, supportive management of natural environments, and for this reason we do not remove algal deposits from the beach, as it forms an important part of the delicate marine ecosystem. I thank the public for their support in this stance and in embracing the wonderful, natural environment which we are custodians of.

However, sometimes Mother Nature needs a helping hand – be that leaving grassed areas to allow wildflowers to bloom and feed the bees, or planting 115 fruit trees at Tumbledown to feed not only the bees but our human population as well! or, in this case, helping the sea reclaim her vegetation. For this reason, we have engaged contractors to move the sea algae deposits a little further down the beach to ensure that the next high tide can reach the stranded matter and return it to the sea so it can continue to form an important part of the food chain. This will be done in time for the main visitor season to ensure the marine ecosystem is protected, and everyone can enjoy the beach and it’s wonderful environment including fish, crabs, dolphins, and even the occasional sea turtle that feed on the seaweed.

I’d like to take this opportunity to ask everyone who loves our beach to help us protect the plants and animals (including humans) who value it. Please let us know if you see anything that concerns you, treat all animals and plants with respect (safe crabbing!), and take all your rubbish home or use a bin! The council spends hundreds of thousands of pounds every year on beach cleaning and just imagine what amazing things we could do with that money if we weren’t clearing up other people’s mess.