Port Stephens Council reply to seaweed issue

Sandra Ferguson first observed the weed before Christmas.
Sandra Ferguson first observed the weed before Christmas.

Port Stephens Council has replied to the the issue regarding seaweed which has continued to wash ashore at Birubi Beach over the holiday period.

Council’s Community and Recreation Co-ordinator, Brock Lamont reiterated previous public statements in clarifying that the beached seaweed is a natural process, as is its eventual return to the ocean.

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“Seaweed which has dislodged and washed ashore is not unique to Port Stephens. Nor is the way which we have dealt with the situation,” he said

“Our ability to remove any beached seaweed is extremely limited. With this in mind, our approach has always been to be let nature take its course.”

Also speaking today, the Department of Primary industry (DPI) Fisheries Program Leader, Marcus Riches, said the department had visited the site in recent days in light of the feedback from residents.

“DPI Fisheries officers have inspected seaweed washed ashore at the Northern end of Birubi beach and concluded it is most likely to have been deposited by natural processes, as often happens with a South-Easterly swell,” he said.

“Seaweed can be dislodged from the sea floor during storm events and turbulent sea conditions, and can be transported over long distances before washing ashore.”

“Dislodged seaweed which is washed ashore provides food for invertebrates such as pipis, sand worms and crabs, which are important in maintaining healthy fish populations.

The decomposing weed also delivers nutrients back to coastal ecosystems and as such it plays an important role in sustaining a natural and healthy marine environment.”

“In this particular case, this includes the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park and Stockton Beach area, and is best left to be washed naturally back into the sea by the tide.”

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