Wed | Jun 23, 2021

We need to curtail sargassum threat – Bartlett

Published:Tuesday | July 30, 2019 | 12:22 AM

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has said a strong collective regional effort is needed to curtail the rapidly growing threats posed by the influx of sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean.

Among the interventions he is proposing is the development of a comprehensive, scientific initiative to devise the most efficient way to collect sargassum in the open sea without harming the ecosystem.

He was speaking at a regional roundtable forum at The University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters in St Andrew last Friday , under the theme ‘Sargassum and the Caribbean: Resilience, Innovation and Solutions’.

Bartlett noted that “masses” of sargassum, which have washed up on to beaches along the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the tropical Atlantic have smothered coral reefs, and trapped several species of marine life.

Additionally, he said the influx has adversely impacted tourism, fishery and nautical activities such as diving, kite surfing and windsurfing, which have contributed to, among other things, economic instability within coastal communities dependent on these engagements.