February 23, 2024
The invasive Caulerpa prolifera seaweed present in San Diego Bay. Photograph launched by Port of San Diego

An invasive seaweed discovered within the Coronado Cays space of San Diego Bay prompted the Port of San Diego and metropolis of Coronado to Thursday launch a plan to take care of the species.

Caulerpa prolifera, an algae native to Florida and different subtropical and tropical locales, can take over non-native pure habitats, disrupting the ecosystem and displacing native vegetation and the animals that depend on them, a port assertion stated.

The Southern California Caulerpa Motion Staff (SCCAT) and Coronado Cays Householders Affiliation joined the port and metropolis within the response.

In late September, divers discovered a small patch of the plant whereas conducting an in-water, pre-construction eelgrass/Caulerpa dive survey as a allow situation for a dock substitute undertaking. Further patches have been found close by throughout follow-up surveys. The full discover throughout the Cays is about one-quarter of an acre.

In response to a port assertion, in San Diego Bay, state and federally protected eelgrass habitats are particularly in danger as eelgrass is utilized by native inexperienced sea turtle populations, a threatened species, and 70 completely different fish species relaxation inside and feed on eelgrass. Caulerpa is just not dangerous to people.

It’s unlawful in California to own, promote, or transport any Caulerpa seaweed. Caulerpa is used primarily in saltwater aquariums. Fines can vary from $500 to $10,000 for every violation.

“Caulerpa can quickly and aggressively develop from contact with vessels, fishing, and even tidal exchanges,” the port assertion reads. “To stop unintentional unfold of this invasive species, boaters, kayakers, swimmers, and divers are requested to keep away from the areas, if doable, or to softly transit the channel at excessive tide.”

In response, the SCCAT ready a Fast Response Eradication Plan that features controlling the positioning, persevering with native diving surveys to seek for extra, treating and killing the algae and post-treatment surveys.

The Port of San Diego has contributed $92,000 to the plan thus far, however the ultimate price is but to be decided, the port assertion stated. To help in masking remaining prices, the port and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service utilized for a grant from the Fast Response Fund for Aquatic Invasive Species. Further funding might also be obtainable from the State Water Sources Management Board’s Cleanup and Abatement account.

In response to the port, the more than likely supply of this infestation is the discharge from a saltwater aquarium into the bay, as Caulerpa, although unlawful, is a well-liked and customary saltwater aquarium plant. These with saltwater aquariums are urged to not use the plant and to not dump the contents into California waters or on the road. Solely use a drain in your residence, as these result in therapy amenities that may assist reduce the risk.

Boaters, divers and fishermen are urged to study what it appears like, hold a watch out and examine gear for any algae that will have been picked up from the underside.

“That is the primary discovery of Caulerpa prolifera in San Diego Bay and an infestation in Newport Bay has been battled since 2021,” the port assertion learn. “One other species of Caulerpa infested a part of Huntington Harbour and Aqua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad within the early 2000s. In California, there was routine monitoring of Caulerpa because the early 2000s.”

–Metropolis Information Service