Seaweed accumulation is a naturally occurring process and is vital to the sustainability of beach and marine environments. It provides a source of recycled nutrients, food source and habitat for other living organisms and acts as a barrier against coastal erosion.
Seaweed abundance is largely dependent upon prevailing conditions with wind, wave and tidal action the key determining factors in the natural movement of seaweed. The process is generally seasonal but can occur at any time throughout the year and build-up of seaweed and natural removal can occur very rapidly.
Accumulations of seaweed on beaches and boat ramps between or above the ‘mean high water mark’ and ‘mean low water mark’ can have an impact upon recreational use and amenity. The accumulations can also have adverse impacts upon access and egress for emergency services and commercial activities.
Public perceptions of the issue are diverse and range between zero interventions in the natural process to immediate action on minor accumulations. Arguments for and against removal include environmental issues, public safety, health concerns, visual amenity, impacts upon tourism and local business, and impacts upon recreational and commercial use of the locations.
Intervention in seaweed accumulations need to consider the various land tenures in place (Council Land, Crown Land, Coffs Coast State Park, and Coffs Coast Regional Park), along with a variety of stakeholders and approval agencies including Department of Industry – Lands (DoI-L), DPI – Fisheries which manages the Solitary Island Marine Park, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Roads and Maritime Services, NSW Marine Rescue and other emergency services.
The purpose of this document is to provide a clear and consistent approach to the management of seaweed on beaches within the LGA, identify intervention triggers and requisite approvals and establish a communication strategy to ensure the community remains informed on the issue of seaweed intervention.
Read the full guideline below.
Guideline for the Management of Seaweed on Coffs Harbour City Council LGA Beaches.