Sargassum Menace

For the last several years the coastlines of Caribbean islands have from time to time been clogged with sargassum. It is a seaweed that floats on the surface of the sea, inevitably reaching the coastlines of landmasses in its path. 

Besides the unsightly look of the seaweed covering the beaches, the stinking smell of the sargassum as it decays is worse than the smell of a thousand wet farts.

It does not matter if the sargassum menace is caused by global warming or a freak of nature. What matters is that it represents a formidable threat to the economic survival of small island developing states in the region. Since 2011 sargassum has been an economic threat to Caribbean islands and unsurprisingly, it has not provoked a collective response from our leaders. 

It seems foolhardy for economic planners in Barbados and neighbouring territories to be committing millions, billions of dollars to the tourism plant and at the same time ignore the threat sargassum posses to the sector. After a decade the region seems helpless to fight back. We have to find a solution to trap and collect the seaweed at sea before it pollutes our beaches. Who wants to travel thousands of miles to have the rotting stench of sargassum assail the nostrils and the unsightly look it presents?

The following link is presented as a positive step to addressing the issue. Why are we not sensing greater urgency from leaders in the region about combating the threat sargassum posses to the livelihood of the region?

Stinky seaweed is clogging Caribbean beaches – but a New Zealand solution could turn it into green power and fertiliser

Published: May 31, 2022 3.16am BST

Thanks Bentley!

61 thoughts on “Sargassum Menace

  1. UWI needs to do more research, and share with the public, what it is doing to solve problems, within Caricom, to justify its subvention.

    We have all these social academics that get free education while we are not pushing R& D to monetize what is learnt to earn fx.

    • @Kammie

      Given the research being undertaken in New Zealand and elsewhere UWI maybe excused from doing actual research. Its role maybe just to coordinate by bringing leadership.

  2. We suffer from lazy thinking in the Caribbean and should have by now set up national think tanks to look for solutions for problems facing Barbados. Smart partnerships are the way to go. With the opportunities, for Bajans who are smart enough, to realize, its stupid, to leave money in banks, and to invest in these Smart Partnerships Enterprise make better sense.

  3. Agreed David, we just take our blasted time and do everything. I guess when it hits Barbados that the rate of change is accelerating, at a rate never seen before, only when jobs start becoming obsolete we will then realize how indifferent we are as global citizens….we only awake when shit hits fan.

  4. Magnificent a.k.a Magno – Yu Heard Formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂ IUPAC ID: (−)-(6aR,10aR)-6,6,9-trimethyl- 3-pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro- 6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol on said:

    Menace to Society

    There once was a false preacher on BU who now posts right wing nonsense to annoy the natives

  5. Sargassum sinks our tourism I would be as happy as Larry.

    TLSN, you BIG JACKASS, what OUR TOURISM you talking about?

    You does come on BU all the time to wish all types uh bad things for Barbadians just because you live all the way up in England and HATE Mia Mottley wid a passion.

    The hate you got for Mia Mottley like it don’t make you sleep at night.

    Enuff like he right, you sound just like Ha Ha.

  6. @ Frank,
    You have a habit of coming on BU and hurling obnoxious invectives towards me. I meant the tourism industry. And yes, I would like to see the complete collapse of the this industry in Barbados.

    I do not hate Mia. I simply despise her sense of entitlement; her absolute thirst for power; her disloyalty to her own black people; and her willingness to sell out her own people. When a citizen betrays their country men and women during a period of war they gain the title of a traitor.

    Frank take a look at the video that I sent to Waru. Learn to be objective and stop trying to defend the in defendable.

  7. Is TLSN the Undercover Spy Hal Austin – X-Senior Editor – Financial Times Group acting dumb and ignorant
    Say it ain’t so

    This morning’s twister: She sells sea shells by the sea shore. The shells she sells are surely sea shells. So if she sells shells on the sea shore, I’m sure she sells seashore shells.

  8. Kammie HolderJuly 3, 2022 3:20 AM

    Agreed David, we just take our blasted time and do everything. I guess when it hits Barbados that the rate of change is accelerating, at a rate never seen before, only when jobs start becoming obsolete we will then realize how indifferent we are as global citizens….we only awake when shit hits fan

    Barbados and other small island nation are slow and tardy
    Nothing will change until govts realized the need for change starts within their educational system
    Most importantly nothing will change until the people elect leaders that have vision and not based on popularity
    Everyday the global economic system of the world is changing Barbados and small island are now begining to enter the technological computerized area will the rest of the world heads towards a robotic system
    Yes a jobless society is what is headed towards these small island nations

  9. You have a habit of coming on BU and hurling obnoxious invectives towards me.

    Just like how you got a habit of calling Barbadians sheep, fools, idiots and all kinds of nasty things?

    You now getting offended when somebody returning that treatment to you?

    I ain’t defending uh fellow.

  10. “Most importantly nothing will change until the people elect leaders that have vision and not based on popularity”

    we get it
    it is the same song everyday
    Everything is always the Governments fault
    ‘‘Well, whose fault was that?’ ‘Mea culpa!’ Mia said’

  11. David
    People are finding ways to turn this into a blessing
    Do not fight The Pachamama. She will destroy you.
    We must reject old norms. Accept change.even when we’re removed from zones of comfort.

    • @Pacha

      Where in the highlight there is blame attributed to the planet? The thrust is about swinging this into a positive as a SID.

  12. Just my opinion
    Pulling out immediately after posting the link would not have give n birth to the comment from Frank.

    What I like about the link is that it mentions several Caribbean writers.,. I shall try to read the work of a few.

  13. This is a good link..
    It ends with
    “There is currently no good way to dispose of such great volumes of seaweed. It’s labor-intensive and expensive. Removing sargassum from 15 miles of Miami-Dade beaches cost $45 million in 2019.

    Some communities plow seaweed under the sand. Others, like Fort Lauderdale, collect it, wash off the salt and convert it to natural fertilizer or mulch. In Mexico some entrepreneurs are compressing it into bricks and using it, like adobe, for building construction. In the long term, lasting solutions will come only through addressing climate change and nitrogen emissions from human activities.”

  14. “A proposed biorefinery in Barbados could handle an annual feed input of 15,750 tonnes of hydrothermally pre-treated sargassum mixed with raw food waste. This would handle a significant portion of sargassum influx, keeping it out of landfills.”
    Just questions/comments. Not leaning to one side or the other..

    Do we have an idea of how many tonnes are deposited on the beaches of Barbados?

    Is this a national solution or just for a part of the coast.

    WCUWID? What can UWI really do? It appears to me we can only address this sargassum after it reaches out shores. The solution is therefore one of removal and disposal.

  15. @ TheOGazerts who wrote ” The solution is therefore one of removal and disposal.”

    That is a good idea. There is a possibility that the sargassum could bypass Barbados in the future,

  16. I concur. Removal and disposal. The other expensive waste of resources can stay on the shelf. It is a seasonal nuisance. Nature is performing as it should.
    Must every activity center around the mature Tourist Industry? We need to diversify our economic risks. Have our external shocks taught us nothing?

  17. Sargassum?!! It makes the sea seem almost ‘bloody’….
    This may all just be coincidental, however….
    Revelation 16 is worrisome….

    “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”
    The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.

    The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died.

    The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood.
    Now if the current uncharacteristic ‘Monkey Pox’ situation was to worsen…..(as it is projected to…)
    …and if the ‘sargassum problem’ continues to grow (as it has done significantly..)
    Bushie would begin to worry about similar infestations in fresh water supplies globally….

    Not to mention the other four (brass?) bowls that are projected to follow…….

    What a coincidence of events.

    • The blogmaster just passed through St. Lawrence Gap and the window to the sea beach at the West entrance is suffocating with sargassum.

  18. RE n the long term, lasting solutions will come only through addressing climate change and nitrogen emissions from human activities.”




  19. David

    We’re hearing that Covid is making a resurgence.

    A doctor just reminded that it never went away.

    Warn de people, if true.

    • @Pacha

      Did it ever go away? Less troublesome variant with older people appearing to be the most vulnerable.

  20. Time for a Government ” temporary make work program ” to remove the sargassum from the beaches.

    There are a lot of unemployed young men in Barbados.

  21. “People are finding ways to turn this into a blessing”

    i could swear in 2018 or 19…there was all this BIG TALK of using the sargassum as fertilizer and other products like a very innovative creative young man in St. Lucia did…..

    they made this big show……so what happened since then, lack of implementation as usual, lack of maintaining what was started……

  22. Pacha…am staying in my little corner…..don’t want to turn into a DO NOTHING like these people….talkers not doers….they can’t lead me anywhere…

    it’s absolutely FRIGHTENING. to even get within a mile of them..

  23. just f—-ing great to bad when you book nobody says a word I guess the price of rum has gone up as well

  24. Lawson…..ya will hear words like….pizza is now 90 dollars for 2 large….and when ya ask why…’s PUTIN’S FAULT….i did not make that up…

    so ya better have a well padded bank account to do what you do in Barbados…

    trust me….we get robbed daily..

  25. UK is calling sharp rise in ya grocery bill……shop price inflation.

    Tel Aviv is calling it….being suffocated, and the people are protesting…

  26. Nothing will change until govts realized the need for change starts within their educational system”

    The problem is that every day we waste not addressing this reality breeds hopelessness.
    The full effects of removing fees from entrance into some schools, usually referenced as free education, were not really felt until a generation or two after..
    It became one of the pillars of the cemented Black middle class, we have today. Those changes were made in 1962.
    Any real reform of the educational system , will have to look toward where we are now and where we want to be in other 25/40 years.
    There is no evidence that we currently have that type of visionary leadership in our educational sector.
    Quite frankly , we have not had it in the last thirty or so years.
    We are saddled with what we produce. This is not only applicable to agriculture and manufacturing.
    What type of citizen are we planning to produce. That is the main question that we are refusing to answer and the one we are running from .
    Right now we look like scared rabbits . I almost said hares.
    And I certainly did not want to say……,,,,….,.
    Oh well, I guess people are scared all over the world. So, why worry. Why throw shade when it’s really no better in Amurca.

  27. “Nothing will change until govts realized the need for change starts within their educational system”

    The problem is that every day we waste not addressing this reality breeds hopelessness.”

    been singing that tune for years, it should be platinum by now..

    but, these are still sentimentalizing on if they should get rid of the 11 plus Slave test..

    they are determined to continue the injustice to Afrikan children so they can boast they got the best education…..which makes no sense given their track records of ONESIDED INEQUALITY….and the long in process, long term socio-economic SINKING of the country……so don’t hold ya breath…

  28. Repeat !

    Time for a Government ” temporary make work program ” to remove the sargassum from the beaches.

    Carlisle Bay is also inundated with sargassum.

    You can go to the website and check the beach cameras.


    Young scientist/entrepreneur Mr. Forte has been working hard

    We do not have enough experience in Barbados for transitioning from the R&D phase to commercial.
    I said it before, the government continues to throw millions at UWI every year. And all student affairs does is funnel clueless students in So Sci and Humanities faculties, where they undertake useless degrees in Management, Psychology and Sociology. Anyone every heard of an entrepreneur with a degree in those fields.
    At this point the only degrees the government should pay for are in Science and Engineering

    From the article:

    Then we started getting reports from farmers that were taking our compost and using it, and some of them were seeing these kinds of drastic results with other crops. We also discovered that the compost enhanced the flavour of the food. Since we kicked off in 2017, we have been operating in that R&D stage, and we’re working on getting the equipment we need in order to scale up.

    For most people in Barbados, sargassum is a problem, but for me it’s truly a gold mine. I often go out harvesting on the beaches, early in the morning, and I think, wow, all of this is free, for me.

    The formulation of the compost is now at an ideal stage, and some of our early adopters have been knocking on our doors to try to get it. They’re really excited.”

    • More than a decade our coastline has been inundated with sargassum and we are no further along to addressing it. What does it say about us?

  30. “Over 20,000 kgs of sargassum seaweed has been shipped from Antigua and Barbuda to Finland via a 20 foot container.

    This is the second shipment from Antigua and Barbuda’s Department of Analytical Services to Origin by Ocean.

    Origin by Ocean is a company being incubated within the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) S3I Innovation Centre in Sweden.

    The seaweed will be used as part of a project to design a new bio-refinery process (Nauvu®) for the extraction of biomolecules for use in food, cosmetics, and domestic detergent.

    “This second shipment is one of several that will be shipped to Finland later this year to be used by the company to do initial reference trials of the Nauvu® process against the benchmark feedstock of Bladderwrack seaweed,” the department said.

    “The collaboration between Origin by Ocean and the Department of Analytical Services is being facilitated by the Antigua and Barbuda Science Innovation Park (ABSIP) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).”

    The department noted that the long term goal is to establish a bio-refinery in Antigua and Barbuda where sargassum seaweed can be processed.”

  31. Alleged seaweed on south coast is so bad even the beggars have left the boardwalk. Now it doesn’t take a suspicious mind but when you have been dumping sewage. In a pipe into the ocean that it might have consequences. Was down town and have never seen it looking so shabby. Becoming a republic has.really allowed barbados to up their game Not

  32. More than a decade our coastline has been inundated with sargassum and we are no further along to addressing it. What does it say about us?
    …brass ..? 🙂

  33. Call for united push against sargassum
    There must be greater coordination from regional governments to tackle the sargassum seaweed which continues to be a major ecological and economic threat to the tourism industry.
    Jake Kheel, vice president of the Dominican Republic-based Grupo Puntacana Foundation, said yesterday it was no longer “a small issue that happens part of the year” as it was affecting more countries and lasting longer.
    Speaking during a virtual discussion hosted by the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association titled Sargassum: Managing the Threat – Outlook And Best Practices which focused on sargassum basics, he said Puntacana had been “severely impacted” for the last 11 years.
    “It’s become more than just simply a problem. We’re seeing every year more sargassum arriving, it’s arriving to new parts of the island where it hadn’t previously arrived. We’re seeing greater quantities and impact on our beaches both in the ways we’re managing the beaches and in areas where clean-up and management of sargassum is not possible . . .
    “We’re no longer taking about this as a threat or as a small problem or as an issue with some impact. We’re talking about an emergency. We’re talking about something that is a direct threat to the future of tourism in the Dominican Republic and in the rest of the Caribbean. And so, if
    we want to think about some kind of future tourism for the Caribbean, which is built very much on beaches, on sun, on sand, this can’t be part of our future.
    “We’re having impact on economies; the impact of tourists that decide not to visit our region because of sargassum, or that came and are disappointed and it causes reputational damage because they report what they saw, their experiences because of sargassum,” he said.
    He was one of three panellists participating in the first of two virtual discussions to support tourism industry stakeholders’ efforts to monitor, manage and mitigate sargassum’s impact on tourism and the environment.
    Dr Chuanmin Hu, coordinator of the satellite-based Sargassum Watch System University of South Florida, spoke about the latest research on causes and outlook, while Dr Shelly Ann Cox, chief executive officer of the Barbados-based Blueshell Productions, presented on the macroalgae’s impact on the environment, health, tourism and economies. K. Denaye Hinds, owner of JustaTAAD, LLC, moderated.
    Kheel said that while countries such as Mexico were starting to see a sargassum season, in other countries in the region it was extended to five and eight months of the year.
    He said hotels and resorts had to bear the brunt of the cost of trying to resolve the matter and local and
    national governments have not moved with the urgency and the resources that the problem required.
    “It hasn’t been a coordinated effort unfortunately, and really a huge part of the impact has been directly on the tourism area. I think this is important to remember that the private sector in the tourism industry is not just hotels …[it] cuts across all sectors of the economy.
    “This is a regional issue and we’re starting to see there’s much better knowledge sharing from the academic side, much better knowledge sharing of the things we are learning that we can do with sargassum, and I think now we really need to see regional coordination between governments and putting serious resources behind this problem,” Kheel said. ( GBM)

    Source: Nation

  34. @King David,

    Take a look at Kammie’s opening remarks. Now read the link below.

    We in the Caribbean have known of the Sagassum menace for eons. Why has our fabled UWI not led the race in carrying out research work to warn the world of this menace. I get the distinct impression that no serious effort has been made on their part.

    The Caribbean basin was the canary in the coal mine. Our yard is been fowled, yet we appear indifferent. If we had carried out the necessary research, we would have been able to have pressurised the world’s polluters to clean up their act.

    The article below highlights that it is foreign academics who are leading the fight to combat the sargussum menace.

    • @TLSN

      As far as the blogmaster is aware there has been research complied. What are the action items arising, your guess is as good as anyone.

  35. @ TLSN
    You are another ‘gallows bait’ (to coin an old Bajan term).

    What UWI do what research on what sargassum what!!??

    You know as well as Bushie AND the blogmaster, that UWI is about one thing and one thing ONLY….
    ..and that is enrolling as many brass bowls as are needed to bill the government of brassbados for the millions of dollars needed to sustain their operations.

    When asked about their research portfolio recently on CBC, the Chancellor proudly described their landmark research project…
    – Reading old newspaper articles on VOB every damn day and interrupting Brass Tacks. (Very similar to what Kiki (or Jung or whatever his name) was until recently doing to BU with his shiite videos.

    UWI is not only symbolic of Bajan brassbowlery – it has been THE root cause. Doing so by corrupting TRUE education with Sir Cave Hilary’s warped philosophy of ‘mendicancy – as a response to slavery’.

    Even when they intervened in cricket, that game went from world class dominance by the region, the dismal mediocrity we now have….
    THAT alone shout tell us UWI’s value.

    The ONLY good thing that Froon and his gang of misfits ever proposed, was to stop throwing treasury funds into that cave on the hill….
    But as we have come to expect, the local brass bowls voted for continued ‘freeness’, and hence continued mediocrity.
    Good thing no cheap. Cheap thing no good. Free thing bare shiite.

    • @Bush Tea

      You are aware serious research at any university requires funding. UWI is not a research although it dabbles in research.

  36. @ David

    Please forgive the “essay,” ’cause yuh dun know I ‘have a propensity to talk runny shiite.’

    But, I’m sure you’ve heard of UWI Cave Hill’s “Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES).”

    “UWI-CERMES has been at the forefront of communicating the latest sargassum science and innovations since the very first influx in 2011, giving invited presentations on sargassum at numerous regional and international events. In partnership with GCFI and UNEP (through the CAR-SPAW-RAC), UWI-CERMES produced the first Sargassum Management Guide, that was subsequently used as the basis for a co-produced infographic poster. UWI has also hosted two Sargassum Symposia, in 2015 and 2018, and has established this website which provides a repository of initiatives taking place on Sargassum research and product development.”

    UWI – CERMES Sargassum Reference Repository has information pertaining to research on the sargassum seaweed.

    “The Sargassum Reference Repository is a living and constantly growing collection of scientific works related to the biology, impacts and uses of sargassum within the Wider Caribbean Region and beyond.”

    Adapting to a new reality: Managing responses to influxes of sargassum seaweed in the Eastern Caribbean as ecosystem hazards and opportunities

    Additionally, UWI has partnered with overseas universities for research and also provided further information about the seaweed to other Caribbean territories:

    The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Partners with University of the West Indies- Barbados to Address the Threat of Sargassum to Caribbean Waters, Islands

    Prevention and clean-up of Sargassum in the Dutch Caribbean

    UWI project using sargassum seaweed to power vehicles

    Article by: David Hinkson

    Published on: August 18, 2021

    Regional Sargassum Action Learning Network launched by CERMES and CANARI

    Rum & Sargassum: the biofuel potential for Barbados and beyond

    Giovanni Bruna • Jun 13, 2022

    Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Caribbean participant in the inaugural Global Solutions Forum (GSF) shows promising updates at the end of a two-year research grant.

    A group of students at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, is working to develop a new bioplastic prototype from sargassum seaweed.

  37. @ David
    Research requires intelligence, innovation, creativity and risk-taking. Effective research ATTRACTS funding.
    Looking for ‘funding’ in the absence of the above attributes is called mendicancy…. even when you justify it with talk of reparations.

  38. So why not defend them directly Artax.
    Bushie is critical because of the IMMENSE value that COULD be had …IF .. UWI was anyway as effective as they have the CAPABILITY to be…

    Bushie judges by RESULTS boss… not by promises or theory.
    Please help the bushman to see the error of his ways….

    BTW @David
    Have another view of your MPH clip from Singapore, and then immediately review BU’s 10 point plan ….

  39. @ David

    Remember, the discussion was FOCUSED SPECIFICALLY on UWI’s RESPONSE to SARGASSUM seaweed.

    Anything else is irrelevant.

    Some contributors seemed to be suggesting UWI hasn’t made any SERIOUS EFFORT to conduct research on sargassum sea weed…… or, the institution lacks the capability to do so.

    I responded by simply providing BU with some information that would, ‘more or less,’ refute what apparently was being suggested.

    Has UWI made any serious effort to conduct research on the sargassum menace?

    The answer to that question is a ‘resounding YES,’…… and can be verified by UWI-CERMES’ wedbsite, more specifically, the Sargassum Reference Repository.

    UWI-CERMES has been at the FOREFRONT warning the entire Caribbean region, including the Dutch islands, about sargassum, while providing pertinent information as well.

    Additionally, FAO was working with fisherfolk, policymakers and scientists from the University of the West Indies’ Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies to increase the resilience of coastal communities and reduce their vulnerability to the deleterious effects of sargassum.

    There are several sources of information.

    Surely, under the specufic circumstances, ‘UWI has been as effective as they have the CAPABILITY to be.’

    I stand firmly behind my comment that criticisms of UWI are totally unfounded.

    • @Artax

      The blogmaster was in a forum many years ago where from the horses mouth made aware about research/initiatives. What should be shared is has the research been acted on by respective governments. We have the LIAT experience to guide expectations.

  40. @ David

    Don’t forget the CDB’s study on the airline.

    Since you mentioned LIAT.


    Updated:07, March 2023 : 12:18 pm

    “Antigua appears to be alone when it comes to the new LIAT- Browne.”

    Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, says that the island seems to be on its own when it comes to making a new company to replace LIAT (1974) Limited, which went out of business in 2020.

    “At the moment, most heads seem to think that there are enough assets in the region. In fact, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) did a study, and I went to a meeting about it in St. Lucia, where everyone agreed that the region has enough assets to meet its needs.

    • No surprise Artax. Antigua in the Blogmaster’s view sabotaged LIAT 1974 and the result was inevitable. The demise of LIAT is symptomatic of a dysfunctional common space re:CARICOM.

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