Boost To Sargassum Management Efforts With Japanese Donated Boats

PR – The fisheries division of the Ministry of  Agriculture and Lands, Fisheries, and Cooperatives has received a valuable asset in the fight  against Grenada’s persistent sargassum problem, which has plagued the island since 2011. This  critical addition comes in the form of a state-of-the-art, over 20-foot boat, along with essential  material, equipment, and spare parts.  

This substantial contribution was made possible through the generous support of the Government  and People of Japan as part of the Japan Grant Aid for the Economic and Social Development  Programme for Grenada (FY2020). 

The official launch ceremony of this game-changing resource recently took place at the Kirani  James Boulevard, marking a significant milestone in Grenada’s efforts to address the long-standing  sargassum issue. 

The $2.3 million project aims to manage the sargassum problem effectively, ensuring the  sustainability of Grenada’s marine ecosystems and the livelihood of its coastal communities.  

Chief Fisheries Officer and Technical Expert, Justin Rennie, underscored the profound  significance of this initiative, stating, “The project’s benefits extend beyond fisheries, as they will  significantly aid the local community and tourism sector. It would be very beneficial for our  fisherfolk because when the sargassum is within our shores, the fishermen cannot go out to sea,  resulting in severe operational costs and lost fishing years.” 

To guarantee the success of this initiative, a comprehensive training session was organised for the  staff of the Fisheries Division, Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority, local fishers, boat  operators, and marine mechanics immediately following the launch. The training aimed to  demonstrate best practices in the operation and maintenance of the equipment, and to provide  practical guidance on effectively addressing the sargassum challenge. 

The project also received support from Japanese experts from YANMAR and Nitto Seimo Co.  Ltd, who are implementing it on behalf of Japan International Cooperating Systems (JICS). These 

experts played a vital role in training the Grenadian teams on the operation of the newly acquired  equipment. 

“By boat we will be towing the fishing gear made by polyethylene net, to collect the sargassum,  put the sargassum on the boat and then we collect and check what the sargassum is actually doing,  “explained Michitaka Nakamura, General Manager in the Overseas Business Department at Nitto  Seimo Co. Ltd. 

Expanding on the collaborative endeavours, the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority  plays a pivotal role in managing the land-based aspects of the project. It will acquire dump trucks  and various vehicles, intended for the storage of sargassum at a designated location in Telescope,  St. Andrew.  

Additionally, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is actively exploring ways to  harness the potential of sargassum. This exploration encompasses its use in fertilisers and various  commercial products, with extensive cooperation established with regional and international  universities and research laboratories. 

There will be coordination among various government departments and agencies for the  establishment of a committee to ensure effective organisation in the removal and maintenance of  the sargassum.  

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Fisheries, and Cooperatives expresses its heartfelt  gratitude to the Government and People of Japan for their invaluable contribution to Grenada’s  ongoing efforts to combat the sargassum problem and promote sustainable fisheries.