Agriculture minister calls on residents to remove seaweed and make use of it

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Agriculture minister calls on residents to remove seaweed and make use of it
Seaweed infestation in Mon Repos.
Seaweed infestation in Mon Repos.

In light of the recent seaweed infestation, Minister of Agriculture, Food Production and Fisheries Moses Jn Baptiste said his ministry is not overly alarmed by the issue, despite the recent outcries of residents and fishermen.

Baptiste told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) today, August, 5: “We as representatives of the ministry and fisheries are not worried by the issue because we believe the solution to the problem is two-fold.”

The minister explained that one way of dealing with the infestation is to physically remove the material along areas where the problem seems to be extensive. The second alternative, he noted, is to take the decomposing seaweed and use it as organic manure for farming.

Moses Jn Baptiste. Photo credit: www.govt.lc.

The challenge, he admitted, lies in the removal of as much seaweed as possible before the material can be used alternatively.

“The ministry understands that it is a nuisance to both residents and fishermen, at large,” Baptiste explained. However, he pointed out that the seaweed has many benefits, such a providing shelter for juvenile species at sea.

“We urge persons through various community programmes to physically remove as much as you can and make good use of it,” the minister advised.

Residents of Dennery, Micoud, Mon Repos and Praslin have all expressed concerns about the infestation of the seaweeds, stating that not only is it causing discomfort to fishermen, but it is also creating a bad stench in these communities.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. The government has made it exceedingly clear that it's coffers cannot sustain it's expenditure and is looking for ways to curb it's expense yet we continually try to drain the coffers quicker. The same way foreigners can come together to clean our beaches we can do it for ourselves. Why not those affected come together and remove as much as possible within reach on a day to day basis. By so doing you continually lessen the nuissance and eventually eradicate it. Why does it have to take government intervention to solve issues directly affecting us when most times we can do it ourselves. When you get involved you are only helping self.

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  2. awa moussah.....i thought u were brighter than... da man eh see d amount of seaweed dat deh and d amount on its way.....well this seems to be an annual thing now last year i remember fishermen catching lots of fish among the clumps of seaweed floating out at see

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  3. Is that Minister getting paid, by the State. Is he suggesting that we all go with our buckets in hand to the sea side collect and do something with it.... No regard for the care and safety of the citizen, No solution, no organization no direction. Is he and his many consultants and assistants looking into why this has occurred, with a view to finding a solution. Is he to busy being a Minister to worry about this. Who elects these people!

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  4. Do we have any marine biologist on island. ? Some one should say something from a professional stand point Not just the minister saying what he thinks.

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  5. Here we are, battling a scourge of chikungunya,and then this shows up! This has some health benefits that alleviates pain caused by arthritis(joint pain).

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  6. Guys and gals at Agriculture, think this whole thing over. It is okay to correct one's self when a bad directives are issued. What matters is doing the right thing.

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  7. Mr Minister, I think you should collect some for your farm as manure. The stench won't affect you after all.

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  8. Other Uses of Seaweeds
    http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/y4765e/y4765e0c.htm#TopOfPage

    But agencies need to partner with us, train us, find markets etc etc etc

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  9. Please hold your second option. On some occasions sodium assist with improving soil structure. However, it is critical to know soil composition BEFORE adding anything to it. When sodium builds up in the roots, plants have an extremely hard time withdrawing water from their surroundings. That can effectively kill young plants...even older ones. It may not be advisable to transport seaweed to arable lands before doing one's homework.

    The idea of individuals going to the bay, and scooping up buckets of seaweed for organic manure, is without thorough thought. For starters, they would only be able to collect what is close to the shore? What about those away from shore? I think it may be prudent to hire a boatman to assist with collection..reduce your liability. All in all, I think the whole idea needs to be retaken to the drawing board.

    Ps. I have no tolerance for your Layba/UWP crap.

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  10. Seaweeds can and are being eaten right here in Brooklyn. Maybe government can ask for help from agencies who knows about this.

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  11. Every day at Cas En Bas big tractors are removing huge amounts of this algae. It is very heavy and would be quite difficult for any individual to remove.

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  12. When you say St.Lucians should stop relying on gouvernement. Do you have means of helping them deal with the seaweed

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  13. You see here is another clear example of why I sometimes worry about how these community issues are dealt with. I recall that the MP for the area along with camera crews sent a message out to the government of the day in relation to the matter. Again I am one who likes to ensure that the relevant authorities speak and deal with the issues not necessarily the Minister. If he was the best mind on the topic then he would have realised the problems in saying use the weeds as manure. The relevant Ministry clearly has experts in the matter and I would have hoped that the relevant fisheries officers would have met with community members instead of allowing the Minister to just blah blah things that sound intellegent. On another note the concern citizens should have been guided by those in the back that the matter is one for the Ministry and its staff and the officers who I am sure are stationed in that area. There are reasons for Ministries, however if such fails then you would want to direct the issue to the Minister. We have to re-educate lucians and make them understand that the various Ministries are the machinery of government not necessarily the Minister. Then again politicians like to make us think they the ones with the power

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  14. I dislike the minister's matter-of-fact response to the cry of the residents for help in this matter. Perhaps he needs to think of their cry for help, not in terms
    of voters who chose to vote for candidates
    of their choice in the last election, but
    as real and future tax payers who at this point in time can no longer bear the overwhelming stench of accumulated sea
    weeds in their communities. I hope his ministry can be directed to mobilize the assistance needed.

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  15. So are you implying that we need to wait for the government to do it? I think that as St.Lucians, we need to stop relying on the government to do things for us. We need to get rid of this laissez-faire attitude.

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  16. Rotting seaweed is not a good idea to be used for Manure . It is highly toxic as it contains Hydrogen sulfide, which causes the bad smell. In addition it has a lot of salt components washed with rain water to get rid of the sodium chloride. Also it must not be gathered in large masses as it lead to contamination.

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    • I cringe at the thought of farmers and volunteers without respirators tackling decomposing seaweed and being overcome by the toxic hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas. St. Jude’s ER Department, ICU and Lab for sure are NOT prepared to handle a sudden spike in H2S poisoning cases. People inhale H2S on purpose to commit suicide, you know. What if there are fatalities? All these reasons and more are why this statement is IRRESPONSIBLE, and should be retracted.

      At this point, where seaweed has piled up and is rotting, machinery should be used to move the seaweed for drying – on site or elsewhere – or burying. Machine operators should wear respirators and be guided by coastal zone management regulations. In future - before the seaweed accumulates and produces H2S as it rots - community groups may play a role in spreading out the seaweed to dry.

      An integrated seaweed management policy should be drafted - if it does not already exist – with input from a coastal/environmental engineer and implemented. This is not the first time Saint Lucia has experienced coastal algal bloom and it won’t be the last.

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      • OMG...
        Thank you!
        I thought that statement issued by Mr. Jn Baptiste was irresponsible as hell! He should seriously retract that rubbish!

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  17. "The second alternative, he noted, is to take the decomposing seaweed and use it as organic manure for farming"

    Not that straight forward Mr. Minister, this can caused an imbalance in the soil do to its salt content and other elements.

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  18. its not out at sea Minister its out in the fisheries, and to move this amount of sea weed would need some specialized boats where their rutters don't get easily jammed, and the weight of seaweed is tenfold when you account for the water that it carries. Making it very difficult for them to put it on their small vessels.

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