Caribbean People at Risk from Sargassum

Caribbean People at Risk from Sargassum Invasion

Project of The BVI Beacon, The Virgin Islands Daily News, América Futura - El País América, Television Jamaica and the RCI Guadeloupe in collaboration with Centro de Periodismo Investigativo

1. After 13 Years, No End in Sight for Caribbean Sargassum Invasion

The growing invasion of sargassum in the Caribbean has impacted the quality of life of the islands' residents. But local governments and some of their metropolises have so far failed to coordinate an international response to address the problem, which scientists believe is triggered by global pollution, the climate crisis, and a shortage of funds to mitigate it.

2. From Poisoning to Skin Diseases: Multiple Effects of Sargassum on Health

Despite the millions in funds invested in mitigation and research projects, celebrating summits and agreements, health problems related to sargassum increasingly affect people living on the French Caribbean islands.

3. Caribbean Resorts and Tourism Operators Pay a High Price for Sargassum

Sargassum cleanup efforts, often paid for by Caribbean hotels and tourism businesses, were estimated at nearly $210 million in 2021, a figure some researchers believe is an underestimate.

4. Infrastructure in Decay and Tap-Water Tasting Like Bad Eggs in the British Virgin Islands

The absorption of sargassum in desalination plants and power generation plants has caused citizens in the British Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico to get cut off from these essential services for days. That or they get smelly tap water. But the governments of the three islands have fallen short in implementing mitigation and management plans for these invasive algae.

5. Sargassum Piles on Problems for Fishers in Jamaica

Since 2011, fishermen throughout the Caribbean have faced production declines due to sargassum. In Jamaica, one of the top 10 fish-consuming countries in the region, fishermen saw a 36% decline in current catch tons in 2017 compared to 1990.

6. Sargassum is Wreaking Havoc on Caribbean Ecosystems

Beach erosion, heightened stress on coral reefs and marine fauna species threatened by the accumulation of algae that prevents them from moving are some of the implications of the extreme flow of sargassum on the Caribbean coasts.

7. Sargassum: That ‘Brown Gold’

Biofuel, bricks, paper, beauty products and even a carbon capture system, are some of the options that researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs in the Caribbean are experimenting as solutions to address the sargassum crisis, but there are still no large-scale solutions.

About this project

Special Projects Editor: Omaya Sosa Pascual

Editorial Coordinator: Víctor Rodríguez Velázquez

Series research editor: Freeman Rogers (The BVI Beacon)

Assistant Editor: Eunice Bedminster (The Virgin Islands Daily News)

Reporters: Freeman Rogers (The BVI Beacon), Olivia Losbar (RCI Guadeloupe), Maria Mónica Monsalve (América Futura, El País América), Krista Campbell (Television Jamaica), Suzanne Carlson (The Virgin Islands Daily News), Rafael René Díaz (Centro de Periodismo Investigativo), Mariela Mejía (Diario Libre) and Hassel Fallas (La Data Cuenta)

Editors: Wilma Maldonado, Carla Minet, Víctor Rodríguez Velázquez, Laura Candelas, and Eunice Bedminster (The Virgin Islands Daily News)

Translator: Michelle Kantrow-Vázquez

Photos: Freeman Rogers (BVI), Anika Christopher (BVI), Gabriel López Albarrán (Puerto Rico), Xavier García (Puerto Rico), Olivia Losbar (Guadalupe), Jacques Dijon (Guadalupe), Suzanne Carlson (USVI), Devon Fletcher (Jamaica), Kirk Wright (Jamaica), Gladys Serrano (El País), Camila Alzate (El País).

Video edition: Omar Samuels and Krista Campbell (Television Jamaica)

Graphics: Gabriela Carrasquillo Piñeiro

Web and design Editors: Vanessa Colón Almenas and Gabriela Carrasquillo Piñeiro

This coverage was possible thanks to the support of Open Society Foundations through scholarships awarded during the first edition of the CPI's Caribe Fest in May 2023.