BVI News

Harvest sargassum seaweed for its benefits, residents told

Pungent sargassum seaweed floating at the ferry dock in Road Town. (BVI News photo captured on May 29, 2018)

Residents are being encouraged to harvest and recycle the sargassum seaweed that has been plaguing the territory for years.

Marine biologist at the Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour Mervin Hastings said the seaweed has many environmental benefits including the ability to be used as fertilizer or compost.

“The sargassum seaweed provides a source of food, home and nursery to an amazing variety of marine species (plants, shrimps, crabs, birds, fish, turtles, etcetera). Sargassum also aids in creating sand dunes which help in restoring eroded beaches and can also serve as biofuel and landfill,” Hastings said.

He said the gases released by the seaweed only becomes harmful and poisonous if kept in concentrated enclosed spaces. 

He further reasoned that common sights of sargassum on beaches or marinas will not be harmful unless they are exposed to the gasses for a prolonged period. This, he said, may result in eye irritation and potential of respiratory issues.

An influx of sargassum is expected in the Caribbean in the upcoming months, according to statistics from the University of South Florida Optical Oceanography Lab.

Research has also indicated that the seaweed may exceed last year’s historical record amount.

Residents and community organisations are therefore being asked to assist with the cleaning up of sargassum once it reaches the territory’s shores. They are also being warned not to use any form of heavy equipment, which may result in damage being caused to the beach or the marine ecosystems.

Persons interested in pursuing such measures and in need of more information are asked to contact the Environment and Climate Change Unit of the Ministry of Health.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

9 Comments

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  1. Father Time says:

    What a great way to get residents to clean it up during the slow tourist season. Very innovative.

    Like 14
  2. Ken D says:

    I suggested this last year when you all had the issue, good thing they are going to do something about it. Harvest it and compost it for gardens and landscapes for some of the Resorts also….

  3. (VISITORS) Environmental Levy Tax says:

    WE TAKING NOTES: Imagine Govt been collecting this new tax for the purpose of keeping the environment clean and nothing is being done differently since they started collecting the tax.

    Like 23
    Dislike 2
    • CW says:

      YOU CLEARLY HAVE ZERO IDEA HOW TAXES WORK LOL. YOU HAVE TO GENERATE THE FUNDS TO THE POINT YOU HAVE ENOUGH FOR PROJECTS, NOT JUST DO IT A LITTLE BIT AT A TIME WITH SMALL AMOUNTS OF MONEY. IT TAKES TIME STRUPES. GET OFF YOUR PHONES AMD TRY TO HELP FOR A CHANGE INSTEAD OF CRYING ONLINE LIKE YOUR TYPICAL STRUPE SELF

      OH WAIT YOU LIKE TO CRY AND COMPLAIN BECAUSE ITS EASY AND YOU GOOD AT IT SMH

      Like 2
      Dislike 4
  4. what says:

    most of the environment talk is just lip service BS
    Deadly raw sewage still flowing into the sea . Garbage all over the place . The dumps are still spewing toxic smoke . The water supply is sporadic . So before you worry about the weeds …. by the way they need to be rinsed of the salt water before composting . The rotten egg like gas can be harmful to very young lungs. The idea is a positive one … lets just be real at the same time

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  5. CW says:

    Poor BVISLANDERS and your complete lack of vision. FIX IT OR STOP COMPLAINING STRUPES.

    DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF ONCE IN A WHILE INSTEAD OF LAYING AROUND EXPECTING OTHERS TO DO YOUR WORK

    Like 1
    Dislike 3
    • Garden gold mine says:

      Honestly guys, you would be surprise the wonders the Sargassum seaweed does for the home garden. I add some to my herb garden and the herbs is doing great. The tomatoes, squash and bell peppers is blooming like they never did before.

  6. Ingrid S. says:

    yes, it’s because the seaweed is full of fertilizer run off

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