Turkey

Expert warns of threat mucilage poses to small boats in Dardanelles

There is serious mucilage layer in Dardanelles, up to 50 feet from surface, says Turkish scientist

Burak Akay   | 18.06.2021
Expert warns of threat mucilage poses to small boats in Dardanelles FILE PHOTO

CANAKKALE, Turkey

Marine mucilage, which spreads in the Sea of Marmara and has recently been observed at the bottom of the Aegean exit of the Dardanelles, poses a threat to small boats, according to a Turkish scientist.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Adnan Ayaz, an expert on marine science at Canakkale 18 Mart University, said that there is a serious mucilage layer in the Dardanelles strait, with a thickness of up to about 15 meters (50 feet).

"It is not possible to do seine fishery in and around the Dardanelles," he stated.

Mucilage covers all living things at the bottom of the Aegean Sea, Ayaz said, adding that mucilage also creates a big shadow in the water and completely blocks the sunlight.

"The water is still around 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). We think that mucilage production still continues in (the Sea of) Marmara since temperature does not rise above 20 degrees Celsius. So, we estimate that mucilage formation in the sea will end when the water temperature rises to 22-24 Celsius (71-75 Fahrenheit)," he said.

Noting that small boats face problems since they take water near the surface, Ayaz said that the mucilage, brought with water, clogs the water filters and affects the operation of the boat engine.

Meanwhile, due to a strong southwesterly wind in the Sea of Marmara, mucilage piled up to the coast of northwestern Tekirdag province.

Mucilage is an overgrowth of microscopic algae called phytoplankton caused by rising seawater temperatures due to global warming, stagnant water and pollution.

This year, mucilage or "sea snot" was detected in January and then intensified and expanded in April, resulting in a serious problem contrary to previous examples, which usually disappeared in a month or 45 days.

As it continued to increase in its intensity in May and June, the Turkish authorities announced a comprehensive action plan to clean up the Sea of Marmara.

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