Demand for Sargassum in New Zealand

Jeremy Stephen has reported on his Facebook page that a Barbadian by the name of Tyrell Thompson who is doing doctoral research in New Zealand at the University of Auckland in alternative energy sources admits that there is a high demand for Sargassum seaweed in New Zealand.

43 comments

  • Talking Loud Saying Nothing

    The sargassum seaweed is a metaphor and a reminder to our nation as to why we are incapable of self-development.

    We have oil reserves that have yet to be exploited (let’s hope it remains underground) and reservoirs of gas that we have tapped into for a number of years. The vast majority of our energy resources are imported at a considerable cost.

    Any self-respecting nation with a modicum of common sense would be looking into ways of reducing their levels of energy consumption and by extension their levels of imported energy.

    We are a small island surrounded by water, constantly harassed by the pesky sun, now joined by the alien/predator sargassum seaweed. All three are rich sources of energy. Yet somehow our fabled U.W.I. and our government remain incapable of joining up the dots.

    Why is this young man studying in New Zealand and not in Barbados? We are a mineral poor country (like Switzerland, Japan and Singapore) and have to maximise what ever God given resources that we have at our disposable.

    For those of you who belief that this new government will address this imbalance then dream on. Bajans are incapable of managing themselves – period

    Like

  • Are-we-there-yet

    TLSN

    So many of us jump to the easy conclusions!

    I would be very surprised if there is not a lot of ongoing research on various aspects of the sargassum problem at UWI cave hill and at the Caribbean Meterological Institute and perhaps other regional UWI faculties. What we need is for the PR dept at UWI to let us know what is the current stage of that research and if it is being tied to proactive efforts to utilize the fruit of such research for urgent purpose-driven practical purposes.

    We should be happy that a Bajan is doing research in New Zealand on Sargassum rather than looking a gift horse in the mouth. New Zealing will certainly have significantly greater resources than we would have to conduct a wider range of coordinated research on the topic and the research could be complimentary to any allied research we might be carring out here.

    Indeed, I would not be surprised if the young student’s research might not have started out in Barbados and is continuing complimentary resources.

    Why not just ask the UWI authorities what is going on at Cave Hill rather than excoriating them for doing nothing without adequate knowledge. Cuss them when we find out that nothing is ongoin, not before.

    But then, that is the typical BU way.

    Liked by 2 people

  • @AWTY

    Jeremy Stephen is a former lecturer of UWI, should he not know if research is being conducted is productive use of sargassum? Should he not know who to contact to share info.

    More to the point, should we export the seaweed if the islands can use it to reduce dependence on fossil fuel?

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  • Why would another country wait for the seaweed to land on Barbados and then to purchase it when all it has to do is to harvest it at sea in international waters?

    Why doesn’t Barbados find a way to harvest it at sea … process it too!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Are-we-there-yet June 23, 2018 8:21 AM
    “What we need is for the PR dept at UWI to let us know what is the current stage of that research and if it is being tied to proactive efforts to utilize the fruit of such research for urgent purpose-driven practical purposes.”

    And while the” PR dept at UWI” is ‘researching’ to inform us what is going on with the old as Methuselah sargassum seaweed ‘challenging opportunity’ let them also let us know what’s going on with the Food Security project in St.Thomas on the land ‘gifted’ to (or should that be given over as a down-payment for reparations) the same UWI by the Edghill family.

    Has this vital project gotten off the ground as promised almost 2 years ago?

    Liked by 1 person

  • What about professor Oliver Headley project? How has the UWI, Cave Hill advance the solar technology?

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  • This sea weed maybe be of some value; once its potential and markets are identified.
    However; as far as i know the seaweed is not smoked(lol). The seaweed is not planted so we do not control it growth etc or harvesting (it drifts toward our island driven by the prevailing tides and winds). We may not be in a position to benefit as the seaweed has no legal owner. There is no property rights or line around the area in the ocean where is originates.

    Once upon a time Taiwanese fishing vessels left their part of the world and their fishing grounds travelled toward the Caribbean and fished seas of the Caribbean for their benefits and not ours.. we did little as we did not have the capacity to do anything about it. I find it hard to see that once the benefits of the seaweed is demonstrated, that some multi-national entity doesn’t go where the seaweed originates scoop it up mechanically; process it in to a semi-finished product on board the floating-factory and cart it back to some big factory in a developed or more developed country. They then turn it into the finished product(s) that we bajan will buy because it cheaper than to purchase the locally produced item.

    I don’t want to throw cold water on the possibilities, but this sargassum seaweed talk my be a pipe dream unless the seaweed has have very high agricultural value; or something that makes a big impact locally.

    JMT

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  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Sirfuzzy June 23, 2018 8:59 AM
    “This sea weed maybe be of some value; once its potential and markets are identified.
    However; as far as i know the seaweed is not smoked(lol). The seaweed is not planted so we do not control it growth etc or harvesting (it drifts toward our island driven by the prevailing tides and winds). We may not be in a position to benefit as the seaweed has no legal owner. There is no property rights or line around the area in the ocean where is originates.”

    What you are saying about the exploitation of the region’s fish resources by far-away modern-day pirates is quite true.

    But you must realize that Barbados has a 200 mile economic zone to the Atlantic Ocean and whatever Nature-provided resources lie within there should be used for the benefit of the country’s now lame-duck economy.

    Why create a new ministerial portfolio to carry Maritime matters and a Blue economy if the focus is not to be another horizon of economic development?

    Why not ask yourself what was the bulk of original material which formed the crude oil and natural gas fields both under the land and offshore of Barbados?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Are-we-there-yet

    David;

    I jumped the gun somewhat as I did not see jeremy Stephen’s accompanying video until I after I saw your response to me and got the video to work. Anyhow here goes re. your questions.

    You asked: Jeremy Stephen is a former lecturer of UWI, should he not know if research is being conducted is productive use of sargassum?
    Of course he should know!
    But it is not outside the realm of possibilities that he is not aware of what is going on outside his specialty. Ofttimes the specialist in Biology, or Agriculture or Climatology or Meteorology reports his or her work only to people in his particular specialty alone and inaequate attempts are made to capture a wide audience. Perhaps the fact that Jeremy is seeking assistance to identify people at UWI who are working on Sargassum and can send samples to New Zealand speaks volumes of his relationships with the scientists in the disciplines that interact in studies such as the one he is so enthused with. I think that if my memory is not totally out of whack with reality that there have been interdisciplinary studies on sargassum in Barbados and in the other Islands looking at the incorporation of the sargassum into animal feeds and fertilizer and that there has been talk of pilot plants etc. Indeed there has been some talk of having interdisciplinary studies done here under the auspices of the new Chinese funded project being headed by Dr Leonard O’Garro. Indeed, it might be useful to get some input from Dr O’Garro on this matter. Perhaps, since I am not a facebook fan, you could contact Jeremy and suggest to him that he should get in touch with Dr. O’Garro on this matter.

    You asked: Should he not know who to contact to share info?.
    I think I answered that above. But for completeness, the formal methods of sharing information on project results an possibilities at UWI do not seem to be up to 21st century standards, even though all the technical tools are available to do so.

    You asked: should we export the seaweed if the islands can use it to reduce dependence on fossil fuel?
    I don’t know. It all relates to the economics of the situation. Is the product going to be a bulky one? Can one accurately predict when the sargassum will be available near Barbados? Can it be used as a cheap fuel for a future Waste to energy plant? Jeremy Stephens painted a scenario of New Zealand being interested in a sargassum product for energy and fertilizer use. That would seem to be a bulky product. What would be the economics of getting such a bulky product to New Zealand.

    Its an interesting suggestion but it seems to need a lot of work before all of its facets could be implemented.

    In the meantime joint research by the Caribbean countries and New Zealand or Florida or Cuba or elsewhere, into other possible uses of the sargassum weed, such as in fine chemicals, should be actively pursued.

    Like

  • @ millertheanunnaki June 23, 2018 9:20 AM

    Yes we have a 200 mile Economic zone. What i am trying to say is what stops a well organised floating factory from scooping the seaweed outside or our EMZ. better yet what stops the floating factory from going to the source which lies in the international waters, as far as i know.

    I later said that “this sargassum seaweed talk may be a pipe dream UNLESS the seaweed has have very high agricultural value; or something that makes a big impact locally.”

    Research into new ways and products usually take a while. The research in NZ is a piece of the puzzle. The question is how much of this totally research is being by UWI? It it a collaborative research project. “Aare we talking big and doing nothing as usual?”
    Time will tell how it turns out.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @AWTY

    You are correct that a study was conducted by the UWI a couple years ago to determine proactive response to managing the sargassum problem. The blogmaster met a bright young lady who sat in the project.

    Like

  • Are-we-there-yet

    Miller;

    I like your points about our 200 mile economic zone and the thrust of the new Ministry of Maritime matters and the Blue economy. This could be one of the areas that that Ministry could concentrate on and resolve in a range of tightly managed research and implementation projects.

    Like

  • @Miller and AWTY

    The blue economy should be dear to PM’s heart given her role in the maritime dispute with Trinidad a few years ago.

    Like

  • Are-we-there-yet

    David; re. your 9:32 am post.

    There is actually quite a lot of info available on Sargassum uses, etc on the internet. Just google: “sargassum barbados research”. e,g,

    https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=UE0uW5TiEtGEtQX1uqvQDw&q=sargassum+seaweed+research+barbados&oq=sargassum+seaweed+research+barbados&gs_l=psy-ab.3..33i22i29i30k1l2.2094.20530.0.24664.36.27.0.8.8.0.257.3654.0j26j1.27.0….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..1.35.3715.0..0j35i39k1j0i131k1j0i20i264k1j0i131i20i264k1j0i10k1j0i22i30k1.0.MQ11y3iiEjs

    Like

  • @AWTY

    Then it begs the question why are we still for the most part dumping the sargassum in a vacant quarry some where.

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  • Then it begs the question why are we still for the most part dumping the sargassum in a vacant quarry some where.

    @ david. Maybe in a couple millions years some one in Barbados will strike oil in that same quarry? lol

    Liked by 1 person

  • Are-we-there-yet

    David;

    Re. your 9:52 am query:

    I don’t know, I can merely guess that there has to be directed purpose driven research closely allied with implementation. This can best be done under One Authority. That framework is probably only now being built out under the new Maritime and Blue Economy Ministry. Perhaps we should expect that we will see some initial fruits of such an integrated programme within the next year or so, especially since the google scholar hits shows some reporting on similar research being completed in sargassum impacted countries in Central America.

    Like

  • Are-we-there-yet

    sirFuzzy, re. your 9:57 am post:

    Nice! Very NIce!

    Like

  • Talking Loud Saying Nothing

    @ Sirfuzzy,

    The sargassum weed does not have the value of platinum, gold, lithium and a whole host of a number of raw materials. However, it does have a value to our society, our economy and our mindset. It is viewed as a problem as it defaces our beaches and gives off a terrible stench when decomposing.

    But step back from your cynicism for a minute and ask yourself this question. The sargassum weed represents a major challenge. Now what if we were to meet this challenge head on? This weed represents a threat to our environment, a threat to our health and a threat to our principle industry: tourism. What concerns me most is that our society appears to be incapable of solving local problems.

    If we could find a solution to this sargassum seaweed problem then it would embolden our nation. From being a nation that lacks the intellectual rigour to analyse a problem and to fix a problem; we could, overnight, transform our nation into a people who are capable of finding solutions to fixing a myriad of our domestic problems. We do ourselves a disfavour when we ignore our problems by outsourcing them to others.

    However minor the problem we should never underestimate the effect that this may have on the local population. We need to resolve our problems in-house. This is the only way that we can make this country great.

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  • SOMEONE ASKED …..“Are we talking big and doing nothing as usual?”

    WHAT ELSE? THAT IS WHAT BU IS ALL ABOUT. A LOT OF TALK, TALK, TALK………MANY PRETENDING TO BE INTELLECTUALS……….AND THEY ARE NOT. ah lie?

    Liked by 1 person

  • What would government do if sargassum washed up on the west coast beaches from Bats Rock to Port St.Charles ?

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  • nothing…….but talk about it!
    just like is done here and BU

    Liked by 1 person

  • Georgie Porgie
    Stop being a spoil sport! Can’t you just play along with our delusions of grandeur

    Liked by 1 person

  • no sir,
    was never into delusions of grandeur

    i was always taught that a 6 was not a 9 and that W was not M turned around

    Liked by 1 person

  • Look man, not even my children care what I think. At least play along so I can fool myself that I mekking a “difference”!

    Liked by 1 person

  • @sirfuzzy

    In a “couple of million years” who will need oil ? Alternative sources of energy are here and the use will become more widespread

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  • In a “couple of million years” who will need oil ? Alternative sources of energy are here and the use will become more widespread

    @ Sargent. Who say that oil will not be of importance. I don’t know, I don’t think i will be around to find out. If you happen to be around send me back a post from the future. I sure hope they cracked the time travel thing by then. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Talking Loud Saying Nothing June 23, 2018 10:15 AM

    I have heard that good thing comes to those that willing and/or prepared to wait.
    They say taking your time is not laziness.

    Today, in our fast paced environment; i don’t believe many see any virtue in the above comments. Its all about now and getting a degree of satisfaction now. I know it would be better to learn and in the process of time gather relevant knowledge, which will redound to Barbados’ benefit. But in the back part of their mind where the new economic model are being massaged into their thinking. It cheaper to outsource that problem or solutions; let some out nations citizen provide us with the solution cause we nah got the time to see the trees from the forest.

    JMT

    Liked by 1 person

  • Are-we-there-yet

    TLSN

    I think I understand where you are coming from. Do’nt despair yet. Necessity is the mother of invention. There are some very talented young or youthful entrepreneurs in Barbados who could actually solve the problem. Indeed, it is possible that one or two of them might have worked on it already and perhaps might have given up because the necessary assistance and resources to develop a project of this type and move it to financial success might appear not to be available here at this time.

    One important aspect of the continuum between the research findings and the commissioning of a factory to make a required product using the sargassum feedstock, is who will provide the “Tech Packs” (or technical packages) that would minutely detail the necessary financial and other resources, processes, materials and equipment to make the end product.

    That important link would not normally be the job of a University but of a National or Regional developmental agency like CARIRI in Trinidad. Perhaps the new Barbados Ministry of Maritime affairs and the Blue Economy could consider the pros and cons of setting up such an agency or funding an existing external agency to provide the necessary Tech Packs for the Sargassum programme. Perhaps Dr. Leonard O’Garro’s group could be resourced to get into such an enterprise.

    I think Dr. O’Garro’s team is well placed to provide trend setting results if a well funded and focussed Sargassum Project could be set up there within the ongoing developmental programme. This project should however be of wide enough scope to encompass all aspects of the future development of Sargassum. It should allow for the incorporation of all the leads available from thorough literature reviews of global research done on all aspects of the Sargassum and other Sea weeds and should have cross linkages with all the agencies that might be working on or interested in all aspects of Sargassum in Barbados.

    Regular national reporting on results would be essential.

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  • @Talking Loud Saying Nothing June 23, 2018 5:53 AM “constantly harassed by the pesky sun, ”

    The sun is not pesky. The sun is wonderful.

    I spend several hours each day in the sunshine and when i do I sing to myself “Mt. Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me.

    Barbadians do make good use of the sun.

    Check the rate of hip fractures of our elderly who spent their lives working in the sun. It is near zero, and significantly different from places with little sun, or significantly different from people who avoid the sun, because they regard it as pesky.

    Hip fractures are hugely expensive.

    Healthy hips in the elderly cost the hospital zero.

    Get thee outside.

    Like

  • Multiple sclerosis virtually unknown among people who enjoy the sun.

    Lower rate of breast cancer, and the money required to treat among women who enjoy the sun.

    Hardly any chicken pox or its related shingles in people who enjoy the sunshine.

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  • @Talking Loud Saying Nothing June 23, 2018 5:53 AM. “Bajans are incapable of managing themselves – period.”

    This statement is so untrue, and so self defeating.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Just like the other weed is illegal, make the sargassum seaweed illegal, and see how fast it disappears from our beaches.

    Who says decomposing sargassum won’t give a nice high?

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  • If you dont have anything construction to add why not let the blog pass?

    Like

  • Dear David: Informing others that chicken pox, shingles, MS, hip fractures and breast cancer are all related to lack of adequate amounts of sunshine is not having nothing constructive to say.

    It is an alternative view.

    A healthy population is a country’s most important resource, more important that oil, or energy from whatever source.

    That said my “non constructive sayings” does nothing to prevent others from having thie rsay.

    It is a blog.

    Where one need not observe the same protocols as at a United Nations meeting.

    Most of us, or our loved ones will be touched, mostly unneccessarily by chicken pox, shingles, MS, hip fractures or breast cancer.

    The sun is NOT pesky.

    Mr. Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me.

    We need to change our attitude to sunshine.

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  • Maybe Mr. Stephen and or Mr. Thompson can reach out to Minister Humphrey and or the Prime Minister through:

    ideas4barbados@barbados.gov.bb

    Like

  • The contact information for the Honourable Minister of Maritime Affairs, Mr. Kirk Humphrey is in the public domain as it should be, since he is a public servant of the people, paid out of the people’s purse:

    https://www.barbadosparliament.com/member/details/35

    Contact Details
    Hon. Kirk D. M. Humphrey, B.Sc., M.Sc., M.P.A
    Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy
    Civil Aviation and MET Office Building Charnocks CHRIST CHURCH
    Telephone: 1 (246) 535-3334
    Fax:
    khumphrey@barbadosparliament.com

    Like

  • David
    There is research: Gloria Lavine, Agri Scientist attached to the Ministry of Agri me thinks.

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  • is that the same beach area that someone wants to throw millions of dollars at ..no wonder comrade c is making an about turn

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  • We black and dark brown people need to change our attitude to sunshine. Sunshine does NOT give us skin cancer. Skin cancer, is largely a white people’s problem. The sun is our friend. Don’t all of us black people have parents, grand parents, and great grandparents who spent from 4 to 84 working in the sun, and at the end of life had perfectly beautiful, healthy skin?

    How soon we [pretend] to forget.

    And all of a sudden regard the sun as the enemy, as pesky.

    The sun IS NOT PESKY.

    The sun is our friend.

    Don’t we wonder how come our sheltered wives, who go from air conditioned house to air conditioned car, to air conditioned office are dying of breast cancer in their 50’s while her parents and grandparents never had cancer.

    Get thee outdoors.

    Mr. Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me.

    Liked by 1 person

  • So many ways to develop the island and Caribbean now presenting themselves, don’t miss out on the opportunities, all are natural and not manmade..

    Like

  • Talking Loud Saying Nothing

    Sargassum: The seaweed deluge hitting Caribbean shores

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-45044513

    Like

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