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NIWA confirms red seaweed sample is harmless variety

A sample of the red seaweed that’s been washing up on Coromandel beaches recently has been confirmed as a harmless native alga known as Spyridia filamentosa or Hairy Basket Weed.

The sample was sent to NIWA for testing which confirmed its identity today, says Waikato Regional Council.

“It’s good to have this established so we can give the public greater peace of mind,” said the council’s Coromandel zone manager Tonia Clarkson.

“The council will continue to keep a close eye on the amount of the red seaweed being washed up on beaches as it can be potentially smelly in large amounts.

“Any smell may get worse as the seaweed starts to break down and we’re keen to hear from anyone sighting large accumulations of it on beaches,” said Ms Clarkson.

The Coromandel situation comes after significant amounts of red seaweed were washed up on Northland and other east coast beaches.

Over summer it’s common for this type of seaweed to accumulate in large clumps. They are normally found offshore and further north of the Waikato region but the recent strong winds experienced have brought them Coromandel’s way, Ms Clarkson explained.

Red seaweed also washed up last summer on the Coromandel but just at Whangapoua. This summer there have been reports of it at New Chums, Rings Beach, Matarangi and Cooks Beach.

People wanting to report sightings can call the council’s freephone 0800 800 401.

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