Jamaica hosts Regional Sargassum Forum today

IN light of the influx of sargassum in the Caribbean region, Jamaica will today 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, a release from the Ministry of Tourism said yesterday.

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. According to the release, the outcome expected 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 of Tourism Edmund Bartlett is quoted as saying: “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.”

Sargassum, the release said, is a type of brown seaweed. 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, the release continued.

Professor 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.

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