'Killer Seaweed' Plagues French Beaches

Posted Jul 28th 2011 09:15 AMUpdated Jul 28th 2011 03:22 PM



AFP/Getty Images

Travelers to France's Brittany region are being warned of toxic seaweed that is coating beaches and killing wildlife.

In the Saint Brieuc area of northern Brittany, a region in northwest France, dead wild boars have been found along local beaches. The suspected culprit? Rotting algae, reports news.com.au.

The poisonous blue-green algae releases toxic fumes as it decomposes. It's believed that breathing in these fumes caused the boars' deaths, and it can be the same for humans.

"This is a very toxic gas, which smells like rotten eggs," Brittany marine biologist Alain Menesguen told news.com.au. "It attacks the respiratory system and can kill a man or an animal in minutes."

"We are very worried for the health of visitors to beaches around here," Morieux mayor Jean-Pierre Briens said, urging travelers to use caution when going near beaches.

According to local government, the seaweed is above a health alert level, but below severe danger level.

Seaweed, a type of algae, is common along these beaches. It becomes toxic and releases hydrogen sulphide when it mixes with nitrogen waste runoff from pig and poultry farms.

"There is no doubt that farming is to blame," environmentalist Jean-Frangois Piquot told the Daily Mail. "Brittany has 5 percent of French agricultural land but 60 percent of the pigs, 45 percent of the poultry and 30 per cent of the dairy farms."

According to the paper, over the past decade, demands from local councils to control the waste produced by these intensive farming practices has fallen on deaf ears. The government's solution has consisted of hiring teams of workers to haul away the seaweed – which just comes back again.

In 2009 a member of a seaweed clearing team was poisoned by gas and taken to hospital in a coma. That same year a horseback rider passed out and his horse died after breathing the fumes.

Learn more about French beaches here:

Visit the Great Dune of Pilat in France

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Well I suppose if farming is to blame than a new French Revolution needs to happen, "Let them eat Seaweed" can be the slogan. John Piquot can be the first to gobble up a salad made from the goo. Would probably taste better than some of the Frenchies delicasies.

August 09 2011 at 8:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"There is no doubt that farming is to blame,".

If environmentalists had their way, we would all commit suicide next to a giant hole. I sometimes think these people forget that we are part of the environment as well, and just like any other animal, we have an effect on the planet.

Which always begs the question, what are we "saving the planet" for? ALL of this is going to be gone someday anyway. Policies for conservation that endanger human life is pointless unless these people are hoping that the rest of will die so that they can enjoy "nature" as they wish it to be.

I've got news for them, I'm not going anywhere. So get use to it.

July 29 2011 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hi debbie

must be a siphon this seaweed..picks up toxins but can't break them down...sad...our beaches, waterways, land, everything is a dumping ground and we suffer for it...

July 29 2011 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

can't believe anything from the eco police

July 29 2011 at 9:32 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Old Fox Inn Inc.

Toxic seeweed? better beware of the toxic french people.......

July 29 2011 at 8:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jeez, what is the matter you people? The farmers caused the runoff; make them clean it up. It's not that hard.

July 29 2011 at 7:36 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Reminds me of venomous sea monsters

July 29 2011 at 7:23 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Its going to be a new movie. KILLER SEAWEED can be lurking in your water

July 29 2011 at 5:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Vive la France mais les personnes ????????

July 29 2011 at 5:19 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

It's official! France stinks!!! Eat more " Freedom Fries"

July 29 2011 at 5:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply