An aerial view showing 'sea snot' on Turkey's Marmara Sea on June 4, 2021.
YASIN AKGUL/AFP via Getty Images
  • Turkey's Sea of Marmara has seen the largest outbreak of "sea snot" on record.
  • The President has promised to "save our seas" from the substance caused by pollution.
  • It is causing problems for marine life and the fishing industry.
  • See more stories on Business Insider SA's home page.

Turkey's President Erdogan has promised to save the country's seas from "sea snot," a slimy layer of grey or green sludge that could endanger marine life and the fishing industry.

The substance, which is known as marine mucilage or "sea snot," forms when algae is overloaded with nutrients due to climate change and water pollution.

It was first discovered in 2007, and later in the Aegean Sea near Greece. The latest outbreak, found in the Sea of Marmara near Istanbul, is thought to be the largest in history, BBC News and Sky News report.

"We will save our seas from this mucilage calamity, leading with the Marmara Sea. We must take this step without delay," Erdogan said in a statement, according to Sky News.

The sea Harbour.
YASIN AKGUL/AFP via Getty Images
Erdogan blamed untreated sewage being dumped in the sea and rising temperatures. He added that "the trouble will be enormous" if substance expands to the Black Sea, BBC News reports.

The Turkish government has dispatched a team to inspect the potential sources of pollution in the sea.

The Sea of Marmara is an inland sea separating the Asiatic and European parts of Turkey, spanning 280 kilometres long from northeast to southwest and 80 kilometres wide at its greatest width. It is connected to the Black Sea through the Bosphorus -a waterway also known as the Strait of Istanbul - on the northeast.

BBC News reports that fishermen travelling through the sea are prevented from working as the "sea snot" is clogging up their motors and nets.

The publication added that divers have reported a large number of fish and other species dying due to suffocation.

"Due to the overgrowth of the mucilage, several species are under threat [including] oysters, mussels, sea stars," Professor Bayram Ozturk of the Turkish Marine Research told the BBC. "It's a real catastrophe."

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