OECS Participates In Study Tour To Explore Solutions For Sargassum Influx In The Region

(OECS) – The brown colour and fowl stench of Sargassum algae have periodically plagued beaches in the Caribbean in recent years, impacting sealife, tourism and livelihoods of those who work in the blue economy.

The Commission of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is dedicated to promoting sustainable solutions for environmental and development challenges. Keeping to this commitment, representatives of the OECS participated in a study tour in September 2023 with the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland and AlgalTek, an algae production company. The OECS team comprised of representatives from the OECS Mission in Geneva, led by Ambassador Colin Murdoch, as well as colleagues from OECS headquarters in Saint Lucia.

The Paul Sherrer Institute (PSI) is a leading research institute for natural and engineering science. AlgalTek specialises in algae products, algae bioproducts, research, consulting, and development. AlgalTek has an aim to produce high-quality products from algae biomass in an environmentally friendly manner, including food, cosmetics, packaging and other materials.

The main activity of the study tour on September 18, 2023, was designed to identify a baseline for research and technology, and help participants build capacity to support projects aimed at effective management and use of Sargassum algae. Participants had the opportunity to see some of the innovations in algae production and studied various methods to process each component of Sargassum algae that can be adapted for different uses–pigments, proteins, lipids, minerals, microfibrillanted cellulose, biofuels and bioplastics, residue etc. They were also able to explore modern methods to collect Sargassum algae and discussed possibilities for export for the OECS region.

Stakeholders and media can follow meetings of the OECS Council of Ministers: Agriculture via the OECS online pressroom to find out updates on decisions made regarding food, agriculture and fisheries in the region. This includes developments with the Food and Agriculture Systems Transformation (FAST) Strategy.