Stinking Seaweed Miasma Affects Bvi And Entire Caribbean


The Sargassum seaweed issue is not only territorial one, but is now officially a regional problem. Thick decaying seaweeds often line various water areas in the Territory, and although the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour has noted that there are advantages to the weed, the smell has residents feeling otherwise.
However, the problem is affecting the entire Caribbean and efforts to rid the region of the Sargassum weed are being called for by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). In a press release that was published on 11 August, the CTO announced that it was concerned about the seasonal increase of Sargassum seaweed on Caribbean beaches and announced that theories and suggestions are being advanced to deal with this regional problem.
In fact the organization stated that it will be participating in a symposium that is being led by the University of the West Indies (UWI) next Monday, 17 August to devise a proper solution to ridding the islands of the Sargassum problem. “We are optimistic that meaningful solutions will emerge,” the CTO said.
The Tourism Organization described the seaweed as a natural occurrence believed to originate in the Sargasso Sea, a two million-square-mile body of warm water in the north Atlantic near Bermuda. It was noted however, that some scientists believe that the current influx was brought into the Eastern Caribbean through the North Brazil Current. The fact that the weed thrives in warm, nutrient-rich water was noted as an explanation as to why it continues to spread throughout the region.
The CTO said that it is most concerned about the weed because it is “an unwelcome visitor which can be uncomfortable; and which takes away from the beach experience for guests.”
“The CTO and our Caribbean partners are treating this matter seriously and with urgency. We have engaged a number of regional and international institutions in our attempts at finding solutions, among them, universities. A number of theories have been advanced as to the cause of the latest influx, and a myriad of suggestions put forward for tackling the issue,” the release stated.
“Among our CTO member-countries the issue differs significantly from one set of circumstances to another, as does the level of the incursion. Even in destinations which are at risk, not all beaches have been affected; in some cases it’s just on the windward coast and not the leeward; but many seem to agree that what’s needed is a deeper understanding of how to tackle the issue collaboratively, with key stakeholders, public- and private-sector, contributing to the discussion. This is what the CTO is encouraging; this is what we are involved,” the organization added.
BVI Perspective
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour confirmed recently via a press release that there are discussions ongoing with regional partners. The disclosure was quoted from Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, Mr. Ronald Smith-Berkeley who said: “Along with these efforts, we are also now, in discussions with our colleagues in the region facing similar issues, as we look for solutions and share best management practices when it comes to the seaweed.”
Additionally the Permanent Secretary Stated that the Ministry is currently making efforts towards purchasing a special machine that can remove the seaweed from the ocean and another from the shoreline.