November 29, 2021 – The United Kingdom (UK) Government-funded Darwin Initiative recently awarded a £228,595 grant for the project Sustainable Sargassum Management in Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat. The two-and-a-half-year project, which officially started in October 2021, received funding from the Darwin Plus scheme which provides grants to projects that aim to protect the unique biodiversity and improve resilience to climate change within the UK Overseas Territories.

Severe sargassum influxes have become a recurrent event in the Eastern Caribbean, including in Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat. Influxes have resulted in adverse impacts, including biodiversity loss in coastal and marine ecosystems, health impacts on local communities, and socio-economic and livelihood impacts in the tourism, fisheries and marine transport sectors. Impacts are directly felt in these sectors, including by fisherfolk, dive and tour operators and other community micro-enterprises, as well as by all coastal users, which for these tiny islands, comprise their entire populations.

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Photo: Sargassum stranding in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Credit: Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, BVI.