[Grenada] The Grenadian Government is seeking to determine whether the abundance of Sargassum seaweed washing up on its beaches can be of economic benefit to the Eastern Caribbean isle that is washed on the east coast by the Atlantic Ocean.
At a post cabinet press briefing last week, Environment Minister Roland Bhola said based on a request from the Government of China, St George’s University is leading research to identify the level and variety of the seaweed.
Sargassum is a brown seaweed that grows to several metres and can float in the open ocean. The copious amounts of it found in in the North Atlantic Ocean close to Bermuda gave the area the name Sargasso Sea. The area has also been called the “floating rainforest of the ocean”.
“We understand that they use it to make some form of fertiliser. However, they have asked us to confirm the variety because they use a special variety for the fertiliser they develop,” Bhola said.
If China were to accept the variety found in Grenada, Bhola said, the island will be able to ship tonnes of the seaweed, which are normally found in the Atlantic.
“We are not going to demand to our farmers that they use it as fertiliser. If they want to use it they can use it but the intention of this research is to assess the safety level for the farmer and the environment,” he continued.
“Once that is done, we will let them know and we will develop a plan in going forward. For now…we are doing small clean-up of beaches, especially those beaches which are used by people for bathing and so on,” Bhola said.
When the Sargassum invasion started in late 2014 it affected beaches on the Atlantic side of the island but it is now taking over the beaches in the north.
Photo: Sargassum seaweed on the beach in Port Aransas, Texas, June 24, 2014. (PHOTO: AP)
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