Sea saliva threatens underwater life off Istanbul

Sea saliva threatens underwater life off Istanbul

Sea saliva threatens underwater life off Istanbul

White layers on the surface of the Marmara Sea formed due to sea saliva (mucilage) continues to be a threat to marine species despite its decreasing density.

A group of divers and photojournalists dived 30 meters deep off Büyükada, the largest of Istanbul’s nine Princes’ Islands.

While diving to the point where the visibility dropped to one meter undmuierwater, divers with their cameras recorded how sea saliva covered sea stars, crabs, mussels and other sea creatures like a layer of fog.

Sea saliva, which was observed intensively on the water surface in 2007 in the Marmara Sea, is caused by the excessive increase of single-celled plant microorganisms called phytoplankton.

These single-celled microorganisms multiply by taking advantage of marine pollution caused by domestic wastes, finding a suitable environment such as the right amount of temperature and light.

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Serco Ekşiyan, a diver and a resident of Büyükada, said that he has been diving for many years and first noticed sea saliva mass in 2006 while trying to observe at what meter the effect of sea saliva started and ended.

Ekşiyan stated that sea saliva is mostly observed at a depth of 28-30 meters, noting that the density of sea saliva obstructs the view.

Büyükada Fisheries Cooperative President Ali Coşkuner also noted that the fishermen were unable to cast a net due to the accumulation of sea saliva that started to be seen in November.

Coşkuner said that the density of sea saliva had a negative effect on the fishing industry, noting that fishing boats cannot sail due to white layers and close the fishing season early.

He added that chemical and organic wastes must be cleaned, and sewage should not be discharged into the sea in order to solve the sea saliva problem.