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Toxic ‘Sea Snot’ Reappears in Marmara Sea, Turkey

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Sea snot on the Marmara Sea, Turkey. Screenshot from YouTube video

The toxic sea snot in Marmara Sea, Turkey has reappeared with experts and fishermen worrying of seafood contamination.

It was June when the surface of Marmara Sea was completely covered by the toxic mucus-like substance, generating concern among scientists trying to explain the strange phenomenon.

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Citizens in Turkey are afraid that the fish going to end up on their plate might be contaminated by the sea snot, while fishermen have problems in both, fishing and selling the fish.

Fish sales have dropped dramatically as Turkish citizens are worried that the fish they could buy would be dangerous.

At the same time, fishermen report that their nets become entangled in the sea snot and break as they pull them.

Fishermen in Greece are worried that the wind may carry the sea snot to Greek shores.

Scientists are worried and point out that the cause of the problem has not been addressed yet. They even speculate that the problem in the area may continue for the next three years.

Marine mucilage

Sea snot, or marine mucilage, or sea saliva is a collection of organic matter that covers the sea surface as a blanket and suffocates marine life below.

The gelatinous substance is not harmful itself, but can attract viruses and bacteria, including the dangerous E. coli.

Sea snot is a product of pollution, as the mass of microorganisms created is enriched by components of excessive nutrients from untreated waste discharged into the sea.

Scientists argue that the sea snot will become a persistent problem in the region if meaningful measures to tackle pollution are taken and water purification systems are used.

In June, a research team from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, has set out on a vessel to examine the marine mucilage phenomenon in the Marmara Sea first hand.

The team found that the extent of the marine mucilage problem is enormous.

An aerial photos made with a drone shows #Marmara sea covered by sea snot in Istanbul, Turkey, 04 June 2021. #seapullotion #GlobalWarming #MarmaraDeniziOElueyor #MarmaraDenizi #denizsalyası @epaphotos

— Erdem Şahin (@_erdemsahin) June 4, 2021

Fear that the sea snot might move to Greece

In June, when the sea snot covered the Marmara Sea, there was fear among Greek fishermen that the mucus-like substance will reach Greek shores.

Indeed, fishermen in Kavala noticed the slimy layer of sea snot floating off the coast of the city, marine biologist Kalliopi Pagkou told Greek Reporter at the time.

The marine biologist said that the phenomenon, which has been observed before in the seas of northern


, was indeed part of the slime from the Marmara Sea, which connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea.

The marine mucilage had floated through the straits into the north Aegean, damaging not only fishing nets but fish stocks as well.

The sludge collects in their nets, making them so heavy they often break. The ones that do make it back onto ships are often empty, as the strings are coated — making them visible to the fish.

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