"Lurking in ships’ ballast water"
A hidden price to pay for "globalization"
T oday's Boston Globe editorial reminds us that the awful smell of red Japanese seaweed is more than just an unpleasant odor at the beach. The United States is spending $120 billion annually to eradicate invasive species such as red Japanese seaweed, zebra mussels and Asian carp. Today's Globe Editorial begins;
"The red Japanese seaweed that smells like rotten eggs is more than a nuisance this summer on the beaches of Cape Cod and Cape Ann. It also speaks to one downside of globalization: the ballast water that cargo ships take in or discharge to maintain the proper overall weight as the amount of cargo on board changes."
"Scientists say the journey of this seaweed probably began decades ago in Japan or Korea, when it hitched a ride in ballast water or on oysters imported to Europe for shellfish farming. From its first detection in 1984 near an oyster farm in France, the seaweed spread over to Ireland, up to Norway and Sweden, and down to Spain and Italy. It then likely came here from Europe in ballast water. It showed up on a Rhode Island beach three years ago and now has moved up the New England coast, worrying innkeepers at the peak of the summer tourism season and lobstermen who are finding the seaweed clogging their traps."
Read the Globe editorial in its entirety here.