A thick, massive layer of mucus-like substance in the Sea of Marmara called sea snot has blanketed Turkish coastlines and raised concerns from local fishermen.
According to the fishermen, the sea snot ended up clogging up their nets and made their catches potentially dangerous to consume.
There were no sea snot reports before 2007 and scientists warned that there may be more incidents due to global warming.
According to Mustafa Öztürk, an environmental engineer, nutrients in the water such as nitrogen and phosphorus combined with prolonged warm temperatures give rise to sea snot.
Other factors such as wastewater contamination including agricultural and raw sewage runoff may also contribute to the appearance of sea snot.
“What we see is basically a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat,” added Dr. Neslihan Özdelice, a marine biologist at Istanbul University.
Though sea snot itself is not harmful, it can attract microorganisms and dangerous bacteria such as E. coli. and suffocate marine wildlife.
“Once the mucilage covers the coasts, it limits the interaction between water and the atmosphere. It further depleted oxygen during decomposition, essentially sucking the air out of the area. Thousands of fish started dying a few weeks ago in Bandırma, a coastal town on the southern banks of the Marmara,” warned Dr. Mustafa Sarı, the dean of Bandırma Onyedi Eylül University’s maritime faculty.
Sari advised Turkish authorities to concentrate efforts on controlling overfishing and wastewater discharges while other experts warned of worse scenarios due to global warming.