Caribbean Looks to Combat Growing Seaweed Problem at Local Beaches
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is working with its 32 member National Hotel and Tourism Associations to provide hotels, government officials and stakeholders with best practice information aimed at mitigating the negative effects of high levels of Sargassum seaweed being reported at some local beaches.
The organizations have released a resource guide, compiled by the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), a CHTA initiative in collaboration with strategic partner OBM International (OBMI), to assist with local efforts.
Sargassum is a free-floating seaweed that moves with the ocean currents. It serves as a habitat for over 250 species of fish and invertebrates and is used by marine life as nurseries, feeding grounds and shelter. Sargassum can also be extremely important to endangered and migratory species like sea turtles and whales.
The guide is a useful tool for assisting hotels and destinations with developing a local action plan to manage and minimize the impact of Sargassum in an environmentally sensitive manner. Sargassum is a natural occurrence that poses no known threat to beach goers. The resource guide also provides tips for educating hotel guests and residents about this natural phenomenon.
"This initiative is a prime example of CHTA's strategy to collectively share knowledge, experience and best practices in an effort to elevate Caribbean tourism across all islands," said Emil Lee, president of CHTA, in a written release.
"We are pleased to see various levels of government, hotel and community collaborations already underway to manage the Sargassum impact,” said Lee. “Tackling this effectively requires an even greater collective effort, with government policies and resources coming into play. The guide recommends local stakeholders join forces and offers direction and resources to assist with their efforts."