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CRFM to undertake Sargassum seaweed study in the C’bean

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CRFM to undertake Sargassum seaweed study in the C’bean

Saturday, January 26, 2019

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BELMOPAN, Belize (CMC) — The Belize-based Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) says it has initiated a regional fact-finding study to document the record-breaking influx of Sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean Sea in 2018, and the impacts this phenomenon has been having on countries in the region since 2011.

The study is being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

CRFM said that over the past seven years, massive Sargassum influxes have been having adverse effects on national and regional economies in the Caribbean, with substantial loss of livelihoods and economic opportunities, primarily in the fisheries and tourism sectors.

It said large Sargassum influxes had been experienced in this region in 2011, 2014 and 2015, but it reached unprecedented levels in 2018, with more Sargassum affecting the Caribbean for a longer period of time than had previously been observed.

CRFM said that the clean-up could cost the Caribbean at least US$120 million in 2018 and that the CRFM Ministerial Council adopted the “Protocol for the Management of Extreme Accumulations of Sargassum on the Coasts of CRFM member states” in 2016.

The protocol has been guiding the drafting of national Sargassum management protocols for Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, with support from the CC4FISH project, an initiative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

CRFM said that in the coming weeks, it will lead extensive consultations with key national stakeholders in the public and private sector, including interests in fisheries, tourism, and environment, as well as with coastal communities and other related sectors.

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