CTO To Tackle Seaweed Problem

August 12, 2015

 

 

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) announced on Tuesday that it would partner with the University of the West Indies (UWI) as calls grow louder for a regional approach to the vexing Sargasso seaweed problem.

The Barbados based CTO said in a statement “we will be participating in a symposium being 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 our situation.”

“We are optimistic that meaningful solutions will emerge,” the statement said.

The CTO said a number of regional and international institutions have been engaged “in our attempts at finding solutions, among them, universities.”

The tourism organization and the natural occurrence is an “unwelcome” and “uncomfortable” visitor, pledging to treat the matter “seriously and with urgency.”

Last week marine biologist John Mussington joined with parliamentarians from the Tobago House of assembly in calling for a regional approach to tackling the problem.

CTO said “many seem to agree that what’s needed is a deeper understanding of how to tackle the issue collaboratively, with key stakeholders, public- and private-sector, contributing to the discussion. “

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.

Stina Herberg, who runs Richmond Vale Academy, a climate change school in St Vincent and the Grenadines, said she believes climate change is behind the problem.

“Due to human activity, we are polluting the atmosphere. We pollute, we trap heat inside the planet,” Herberg who is a director of the school said.

She joined calls for “a sense of urgency on the matter” warning “it’s just going to get worst.”

The seaweed has been blamed for a number of room cancellations in Antigua and other Caribbean destinations.

CTO agrees that, “it takes away from the beach experience for our guests.”

“For most of our members, the beach is an integral part of this experience, the pristine nature of which we are proud. We are aware that the influx of Sargassum can impact this aspect of our product and we will be at the centre of efforts to find a regional solution,” the CTO statement said.

The weed has been impacting the Caribbean for a number of years, but the consensus among stakeholders is that the problem is worsening.

 

 

 

 

Re-posted from: http://antiguaobserver.com/cto-to-tackle-seaweed-problem/

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