Talks Held on Sargassum, Lionfish, and Coastal Erosion

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TACKLING the threat posed by invasive Sargassum seaweed, coastal erosion and invasive fish species such as the predatory Lionfish dominated a two-day symposium of the Caribbean Sea Commission which opened on Monday in Port-of-Spain Trinidad’s Newsday reports.

The symposium, titled, ‘Challenges, Dialogue and Cooperation toward the Sustainability of the Caribbean Sea’ saw the the entire first day session being devoted to presentations on the threat of the Sargassum Seaweed to the Caribbean Sea with speaker after speaker underlining the urgency of the threat posed by the seaweed to the regional tourism economy.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Frances Seignoret, said the recent rapid spread of the Sargassum Seaweed was destroying some of the region’s most significant tourist attractions. She added that many of Tobago’s most beautiful beaches have been affected, and it has become a grave problem affecting communities and the tourism sector. She said it has also affected the fishing industry, and posed health risks.

Professor Dale Webber, Pro- Vice Chancellor at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) said the issues being discussed at the symposium were very critical to the countries bathed by the Caribbean Sea. He hoped the meeting would identify specific activities which could be accomplished to deal with the threats posed by the Sargassum Seaweed, coastal erosion and the Lionfish.

He said that as a regional university, The UWI feels a need to act collectively to address the needs of the people and governments of the Caribbean. He said that with the symposium having identified the three threats, he was heartened that research conducted by academics of The UWI would be presented over the two days of the symposium.

He said the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies has been assigned by the principal of the Cave Hill Campus of The UWI, to take the lead on research into the Sargassum Seaweed, and in August organised and hosted a symposium on the subject to facilitate national dialogue among academics, and the public and private sectors.

He said another symposium on the subject is set for 2016. Yesterday’s session saw discussions centred around coastal erosion, and the invasion of the Lionfish – a fish that was originally from the Pacific Ocean but which has multiplied at an alarming rate in the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, devouring other local threatened fish species.

For the original report go to http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,220420.html

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