Venice fights creeping Chinese seaweed

June 27, 2006

Venetian officials are reportedly fighting a fast-breeding giant creeping Chinese seaweed problem in the citie's fabled waterways.

The weed, Undaria pinnatifida, grows to up to 10-feet, dwarfing the far smaller weed native to the Venice lagoons, The Independent reported Tuesday, noting the Chinese seaweed matures after 40 to 60 days, producing millions of spores that can overrun smaller, local weeds with ease.

Scientists believe the invasive seaweed reached Venice on the hulls of boats or in the ballast of ships. Officials fear the seaweed might move into the city's narrower canals, choking them.

Undaria is described as one of the world's 100 most threatening invasive species, The Independent said, and it has already invaded much of the coast of New Zealand, Argentina and other parts of Europe.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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