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UWI partnering on sargassum seaweed research in Caribbean

Sunday, August 18, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The University of the West Indies (UWI) says ithas invested significant resources over the years in tackling the sargassum challenge in the Caribbean.

According to the UWI, in its most recent initiatives, the university, last month, through its new Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCM) led a forum to facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing and best practices to tackle the threat with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and also held discussions with the United Nations (UN).

The forum, held on Friday, July 26, specifically addressed the type of sargassum, which originates from the coast of Brazil, UWI said in a statement.

Outcomes from the discussions identified gaps and initiatives to foster synergies towards a solution. Presentations were made by Professor Mona Webber, Director of The UWI's Centre for Marine Sciences and Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory; Andres Bisono Leon and Luke Grey from MIT; Precision Engineering Research Group; and Marion Sutton, Oceanographer and Project Manager from Collecte Localisation Satellites in France, the university said, adding that discussions with the UN were held on July 30.

The UN team, represented by the Head of the Caribbean Sub-Regional Office of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean of the Food & Agriculture Organisation, agreed to collaborate in a number of areas to manage the scourge of the sargassum seaweed impact, the university said in its statement.

The meeting led to agreement to focus on improving monitoring to predict sargassum landing and development of monitoring system available via a mobile app, which would allow the general public, including affected groups such as fisherfolk, to be able to better prepare for any landings of this seaweed.

“Our regional university has been and continues to be actively involved in sargassum research and is committed to collaborate with international institutions on this issue,” the UWI's Pro Vice-Chancellor, Graduate Studies and Research, Professor, Stephan Gift, was quoted as saying.


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