KINGSTON – The Jamaica-based Global Tourism and Crisis Management Centre is to collaborate with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to conduct research on the potential threat of sargassum to the Caribbean.
“The Centre will be partnering with MIT, one of the leading research institutions out of the US to explore the best possible strategies that Jamaica and the Caribbean can implement to be proactive and prevent sargassum from populating our shores,” Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has said.
Sargassum is a type of brown seaweed. Numerous species are distributed throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world, where they inhabit shallow water and coral reefs.
Bartlett said “the issue of managing sargassum has become more urgent since large quantities of different species of the algae accumulated along the shores of many of the countries on the Caribbean Sea in 2015”.
He said: “Sargassum, as a disruptive phenomenon, can negatively impact our destination as when washed up on shore, it often causes a foul odour, releasing fumes of sulphur compounds that rust metals, and damage modern conveniences.”
The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, which will open its door in October at the University of the West Indies (UWI) is being tasked with assessing research and monitoring of the situation, plan for, forecast, mitigate, and manage risks related to tourism resilience and crisis management.
Tourism officials say this will be achieved through five objectives, namely research and development, advocacy and communication, programme/project design and management, as well as training and capacity building. (CMC)