Volume 73

What can we do with one metric ton of sargassum?

Desrochers, A; S.A. Cox; H. Oxenford, B. Van. Tussenbroek
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Date: November, 2020

Pages: 17-18

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Three Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Virtual

Country: Virtual


The ‘sargassum crisis’ began in 2011, precipitated by repeated mass influxes of pelagic sargassum stranding along Caribbean shorelines. Over the last nine years, the damage to key economic sectors and critical nearshore habitats has been enormous. The costs and manpower required to repeatedly clean and dispose of stranded sargassum in an environmentally responsible manner, are unsustainable. Hence the growing need to consider opportunities for valorizing sargassum to offset costs, mitigate damage and provide additional employment and income, especially in coastal communities that have been heavily impacted by the sargassum events. In this FAO-Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries Sector (CC4FISH) study, we have gathered information firsthand from entrepreneurs and research teams across the Caribbean who are developing uses for sargassum, or who have already commercialized their products. We have used the information shared with us to develop a ‘Biomass Index’ to show what can be produced from one metric ton of fresh sargassum. Although it is considered as a crude index, it demonstrates the wide range of possible products, and helps to inform what might be possible with regard to ‘scaling-up’ potential uses. We anticipate that this study will enhance the growing community of practice (CoP) to support innovation for enterprise sustainability.

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