Published On: Wed, Aug 12th, 2015

Sargassum seaweed an ‘unwelcome visitor’ to the Caribbean

sargassumBRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) on Tuesday described sargassum – which has been invading Caribbean beaches recently – as an “unwelcome visitor” which was “taking away from the beach experience for our guests”.

In a statement, the tourism organisation said that it was treating the matter seriously and with urgency and has engaged regional and international institutions to find solutions.

Sargassum is 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, although some scientists believe the current influx was brought into the Eastern Caribbean through the North Brazil Current and, because it thrives in warm, nutrient-rich water, the sargassum simply spreads throughout the region

A number of theories have been advanced as to the cause of the latest proliferation, and myriad suggestions put forward for tackling the issue. A symposium will be led by the University of the West Indies (UWI) next Monday, August 17, “to crystallize these myriad ideas and theories into workable solutions that can be implemented immediately to address the situation.”

Among 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.

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