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L’Eree seaweed causing a stink

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VISITORS and islanders have raised concerns about the unpleasant odours and large unsightly amount of seaweed at L’Eree, saying it left the bay looking ugly and that action should be taken.

People have complained about the amount of seaweed on L’Eree beach. ACLMS confirmed that the seaweed at L’Eree had been inspected after careful consideration of the habitat, with arrangements made for a digger to take it further down the beach to the low water mark early this morning. (Picture by Danielle Kenneally, 25582555)

Officials said the seaweed was a valuable food source for wading birds, stressing the importance of the need to balance recreational needs with those of wildlife. But after careful consideration, the seaweed at L’Eree will be moved so it can then disperse on the tide.

Local Martin Nickolls said: ‘Every year L’Eree beach seems to get covered in seaweed and, after the recent bad weather, this has happened again.

‘We are supposed to be an island that wants to attract visitors to our lovely beaches but look what awaits them.

‘The weed will now stay there until the winter and become a smelly rotting mess – it may even be a health hazard. This is a lovely bay but will I’m sure [soon] be off limits to beach-goers.’

Visitors Babs and Brian Russell said it was such a shame for the usually beautiful beach to be covered in seaweed.

‘It really smells,’ said Mrs Russell.

‘I can’t imagine what it would be like when it gets worse.’

Mr Russell added: ‘In other countries they do something about it, it would be pretty easy to scoop it up and use it. Sell it for use and then the picking it up would pay for itself.’

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Hannah Hill, whose sons were playing on the beach, said it had been the same for years.

‘It doesn’t look great,’ she said.

‘I thought the States would have an obligation to clear it really. It wouldn’t be hard to get a tractor down here.’

Agriculture Countryside & Land Management Services said the strandline seaweed on L’Eree provided a valuable food source for birds such as turnstones and oystercatchers.

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A spokesman added: ‘Conservation organisations have largely attributed the increased use of mechanical rakes to clear beaches of litter and seaweed as the reason for the steady decline in numbers of wading birds seen on British beaches.

‘This is because mechanical rakes destroy important habitat for small invertebrates and other food sources such as sandhoppers.’

ACLMS confirmed that the seaweed at L’Eree had been inspected after careful consideration of the habitat, with arrangements made for a digger to take it further down the beach to the low water mark early this morning. The digger will be used to move the seaweed to somewhere where it would disperse naturally by the currents on the next high tide.

‘If the beach was to be raked regularly the sand and other sediments would be broken up, leading to beach sediment more easily being taken out to sea and the beach’s natural coastal defence would be reduced,’ said the spokesperson.

‘The coastal zone is a living natural environment and it is unusual to remove seaweed on Guernsey beaches. In this case arrangements have been made because neap tides have combined with the warmer weather forecast for the bank holiday weekend.

‘We endeavour to maintain a balance between the recreational needs of residents and visitors and the care of native wildlife so seaweed is only removed after careful consideration.’

Danielle Kenneally

By Danielle Kenneally
News reporter

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