The University of Granada has confirmed that the seaweed found off La Rábit is indeed of the Asian variety that is causing problems near Cádiz.
The fishermen who found it in their nets sent it off to the Aula del Mar department at the said university for this purpose so that steps could be taken.
However, the Provincial Delegate for the Regional Ministry of the Environment says that there has not been sufficient evidence found to classify it as a local problem.
“The seaweed that have been found in dragnets does not confirm that it is growing off the coast of Granada,” said the delegate, adding, “we have to determine whether it has come from the coastal waters off Málaga or Cádiz or belongs to a new growth off the Almería-Granada border.”
However, local fishermen operating out of Motril say that they can’t patiently sit around to wait and see if the Junta finally decides if we have a problem growing out in their fishing grounds.
The Asian seaweed slowly replaces the mediterranean variety, which has a knock-on affect on the whole marine flora and fauna. Furthermore, the Costa Tropical has almost 80 kilometres of protected coastline, which would be at the mercy of this species proliferating.
The Central Government announced in September that it would be placing this kind of seaweed on the ‘invasive exotic species,’ list following the damage it has caused in Cádiz.
The first step was for Madrid to hire experts to draw up a risk-analysis report and on the back of that, add it to the before-mentioned list so that urgent measures can be taken. The Junta says that until that happens, it cannot act.
Marine biologists specialised in seaweed point out that it is a photosynthesis organism that cannot live without light for more than three weeks at depths of 200 metres so fishermen unintentionally are helping it spread by throwing it back, which is why the fishing sector needs help to get the seaweed ashore to be destroyed – the majority of their fleet are vessels that are too small to store it until they land.
(News: Motril, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)