Slime alarm on coasts

“Sea snot” is spreading in the Italian Adriatic

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10.07.2024 10:29

Anyone who goes to the sea on a well-deserved vacation dreams of crystal-clear water and clean white beaches - but those seeking relaxation are increasingly disappointed on the Italian Adriatic. Algae slime (also known as "sea snot") is spreading on more and more beaches. The tourist regions have tried to appease the situation - they are afraid that holidaymakers will cancel.

"The entire Adriatic is on slime alert," reports the Italian news agency ANSA. After the phenomenon was first spotted in the north, it is now spreading southwards. The heat of the last few days has encouraged the growth of algae. 

This article shows the algae slime in the Gulf of Trieste: 

Initially, only the northern Italian regions, Friuli, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna were contaminated. Now the problem has also reached southern Italy: The coasts of the Molise, Abruzzo and Apulia regions are also covered in the unappetizing slime.

Hotel operators send "evidence photos" from the sea
Tourism companies are concerned about the increasing number of cancelations. "We are forced to take photos of the sea in real time and send them to tourists who ask us for them," one affected business owner told "La Nuova Riviera", explaining the tense situation. The president of the hotel association, Nicola Mozzoni, finds the reporting on the "sea snot" exaggerated. He is also posting videos of the Italian sea on social media to reassure tourists.

With this video, Mozzoni wants to convince holidaymakers that a stay in Italy is definitely worthwhile:

Fishermen suffer from slime
However, one group that appears to be suffering even more from the algae plague are the fishermen in the affected regions. The fishermen's association Confcooperative Fedagripesca is even calling for an expert commission to be set up to monitor developments. The slime is particularly troublesome for small boats - it interferes with the propellers and cleaning the mechanical parts would also be very difficult. The algae would also affect nets.

Tourism experts do not want "advertising" for algae slime
Tourism expert Mozzoni does not want to dismiss the fishermen's problems out of hand. "Fishermen rightly have a different perception of what happens off the coast," he told the press. "I fully agree with them, but at the advertising level, the less publicity there is for the phenomenon, the better." He warns holidaymakers: "If you cancel your reservation, you may be going to places where the same problem exists or has existed."


Researchers: substance from seaweed is harmless
Scientists also warn against exaggerated concern - the algae slime is a natural phenomenon that was already observed in the 19th century, explains Attilio Rinaldi from the Marine Research Center of the city of Cesenatico. "Why the slime forms at a certain time has not yet been scientifically clarified," says the researcher. The phenomenon is caused by a non-toxic microalgae, Gonyaulax, which releases the gel-like but harmless substance.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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