To tackle the growing problem of Sargassum, GEO Blue Planet’s Sargassum Information Hub is bringing Sargassum-impacted communities together to share data, research, and knowledge, and ultimately find workable solutions to the challenges posed by the proliferation of Sargassum mats.
The fisherfolk of Barbados aren’t the only ones to suffer from the onslaught of Sargassum. “The impacts are multisectoral. Puerto Rico had a power outage, and St. Croix, Virgin Islands, had water shortages because Sargassum got into their intake pipes. Tourism is impacted…we’ve seen beaches where [Sargassum] has been piled up higher than six feet (1.8 metres),” Dr Shelly-Ann Cox explains, adding that Sargassum mats are now becoming more frequent in countries outside of the Caribbean, such as Mexico, the USA, and even those along Africa’s western coastline.
“The impact on the economy is direct and big, so countries do see the importance of mitigating Sargassum,” says Audrey Hasson, Director of GEO Blue Planet’s European Office. By acting as a centralised information point, the Sargassum Information Hub, launched in June 2021, is helping countries do exactly that.
The Hub is supported by GEO Blue Planet, AtlantOS, the AIR Centre, the IOC of Unesco Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions and the University of South Florida and Mercator Ocean International/ EU4OceanObs project.