BHTA monitoring fresh Sargassum influx

The hotel sector here said it was keeping a keen eye on a fresh influx of the dreaded Sargassum seaweed, which in 2015 proved a major headache for the tourism industry.

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Rudy Grant said while some members had been affected, the association had received no reports of significant fallout.

“I am still awaiting information from members with respect to the Sargassum seaweed. We certainly have not had a significant communication from our membership in relation to the Sargassum. But I am aware that we do have members that are affected and members that are utilizing their own resources to ensure that they do clean the beach,” Grant told Barbados TODAY, which last Friday reported on the difficulty visitors to Bathsheba, St Joseph were facing entering the sea because of the virtual wall of seaweed along the shoreline.

Grant added that the National Conservation Commission was assisting with vehicles to help clear the affected areas.

An invasion of the menacing weed in 2015, mostly on the south and east coasts, had sent tourism officials and practitioners, including hoteliers, scrambling for a way to control the flow.

The ghastly stench from the tonnes of weed that covered beaches here and across the Caribbean, making it difficult for locals and visitors alike, had prompted the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) to hold a symposium on Sargassum in a bid to better understand how to control it.

It was there that UWI Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles had estimated that the Caribbean would need US$120 million and 100,000 people to clear the troublesome weed.

However, as the flow receded, Sargussum was no longer the preoccupation of tourism officials, who now must be hoping the latest influx will not be a serious as the one of two years ago.

“Of course, this is something that is of concern and we do have to be continually assessing and evaluating. Because we also want to ensure that Barbadians and visitors can enjoy [the beach],” Grant stated.

3 Responses to BHTA monitoring fresh Sargassum influx

  1. Lee Farnum-Badley June 27, 2017 at 11:51 am

    All the BHTA does every year is “monitor”. It’s time to take group action by demanding that government joins forces with other regional countries to protest CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning in the North Atlantic.

    Sargassum weed is fed by the ocean’s warmth and high carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, it doesn’t take a Phd to see that it is a reaction to climate change. And now, the principal culprit, the USA, wants to pull out of an accord that had promised to address this universal problem.

    The infestations will get worse year after year – this is a certainty. It’s time to agitate !! There is no point “monitoring” this one. If you want to monitor something BHTA, monitor its effect on tourist spend and the decline in competitiveness !!

  2. Belfast June 27, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    First of all, where are the two Cherrington beach cleaners which we were promised, and should have been deployed at the first signs or seaweed on the beach,
    Secondly, let me quote a headline in another newspaper dated June 23.2017.
    Tides of Sargassum seaweed are again invading the shores of Barbados and other Caribbean islands, but this time Principal of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus Professor Eudine Barriteau says there is no need for despair.
    That is because the campus has supplied every Caribbean government with information on how to handle the phenomenon.”

  3. Colin King July 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Lee Farnum-Bradley, while you are correct in your assessment of the Sargassum Seaweed problem you are merely scratching the surface of this issue.
    Most people in The Caribbean are totally unaware of how serious this whole issue of Climate Change really is and the devastating impact that it is going to have on all of our Island Nations in the very near future.
    Yes, Sargassum Seaweed washing ashore on our beaches is posing major problems for our Tourist Industries at the moment, however as a result of Climate Change we also have to look forward to Increasing Ocean Acidification, Increasing Beach Erosion, Increasing Coral Reef Destruction, Reducing Fish Catch, Stronger Hurricanes, Increasing Mangrove Destruction, Rising Sea Levels, Increasing Water Scarcity, Increasing Flooding, Increasing breakouts of Tropical Diseases Like Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue…..etc, Decreasing Agricultural Output, Increasing Soil Erosion,……………..!
    For too long this issue has been denied, ignored or just “swept under the carpet”.
    The time for these approaches is now long gone and have been for a while!!
    The day of reckoning will soon be upon us!


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