Jamaica to host Regional Sargassum Forum

Jamaica to host Regional Sargassum Forum

In light of the influx of sargassum in the Caribbean region, Jamaica will host a regional forum to facilitate collaboration to address the matter. The forum, which is being spearheaded by the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCM), will be held at the Regional Headquarters of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona tomorrow, Friday July 26.

The objective of the forum is to share knowledge and best practices as it relates to sargassum, specifically the type which originates from the coast of Brazil. The outcome from the forum will be to identify gaps and foster synergies towards a solution.

In highlighting the importance of finding effective solutions to the sargassum issue, Minister Bartlett said, “Jamaica is taking the lead on this critical issue of preventing sargassum from negatively impacting our beaches which will ultimately, negatively impact our tourism.

We are being proactive as the onset of sargassum poses a real threat to not just Jamaica but the entire region that is so heavily dependent on tourism.”

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Sargassum is a type of brown seaweed and numerous species are distributed throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world, where they inhabit shallow water and coral reefs. It often causes a foul odour, releasing fumes of sulphur compounds that rust metals, and damage modern conveniences.

Professor, the Hon Ambassador Richard Bernal, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs at the UWI says, “The UWI has been monitoring and identifying solutions to the sargassum situation and this forum will provide an opportunity for collaboration with stakeholders across the Caribbean to further examine the threat and identify practical and cost effective solutions.”

The roundtable participants include mechanical engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Precision Engineering Research Group; and noted researchers from the UWI and the GTRCM.

“I am pleased that we will have some of the brightest minds on this subject area who will engage in discussion on the possible avenues the region can employ to prevent this threat from devastating our shores and collective tourism product,” added Minister Bartlett.