Stinky seaweed trapping boats in St. Bride's

Rotting seaweed is stinking up the shoreline of St. Bride's and trapping boats in the harbour there.

Local harbour authority says kelp is out of control and the smell is unbearable

The local harbour authority said kelp is taking over the shoreline in St. Bride's, spreading a foul stench and trapping boats. (Gerald Dalton/Submitted)

Rotting seaweed is trapping boats and stinking up the shoreline of St. Bride's, on the Cape Shore of the Avalon Peninsula.

"There's a really bad stench from it," said Gerald Dalton, a director with the local harbour authority. He said people driving by can smell it even with their windows closed, and tour operators and hotel owners are speaking out. 

"Everybody's complaining and they kind of blame it on the sewage or whatever but it's not. It's really the rotting seaweed."

Dalton told CBC News the rotting seaweed has been a problem for at least a decade, but the kelp is now "getting out of hand" — he thinks because of rising water temperatures.

"We're expecting this is going to be a real bad year," he said. With a lot of kelp on top of the water and exposed, "it's going to be rotting in the sun." 

Solutions hard to find

Dalton said it's at the point where boats are getting stuck in the kelp.

"Even longliners, the bigger 45 and 50-footers, one fella was stuck in the kelp yesterday," said Dalton on Tuesday. "He had to wait 15 or 20 minutes to get to the wharf."

Dalton said some boats weren't able to leave the wharf to catch crab last year because the kelp had them tied up.

Gerald Dalton believes the best way to get rid of the kelp is to remove a small section of the wharf - but said DFO issued a tender to dredge instead. (Gerald Dalton/Submitted)

Dalton said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has put out a tender to dredge the area, but the dredging will only pick up half of the kelp and do nothing about the smell.

He thinks a section of the wharf needs to be removed to let the seaweed flow through.

Dalton said there's not a lot of faith that the federal government will listen. 

"We really don't trust the system anymore," he said.

With files from The Broadcast