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Sargassum – Golden menace or golden opportunity

Sargassum – Golden menace or golden opportunity

Milledge, John J. ORCID: 0000-0003-0252-6711 (2016) Sargassum – Golden menace or golden opportunity. In: Society and the Sea, 15-16 September 2016, Greenwich Maritime Centre, University of Greenwich, London UK.

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The brown seaweed Sargassum muticum is an invasive species to the coasts of the British Isles, mainland Europe and North America. Attempts at its eradication and control have generally not been successful, although time-consuming and costly. The environmental and economic costs of biological invasions of non-native species in the early part of the last decade were estimated to be worth ~ US$ 1.4 trillion per year, globally, equivalent to 5 % of the world economy). For comparison, the costs of non-native species to the economy of Great Britain alone for 2010 was £ 1.7 billion per year with the specific cost of invasive marine species to shipping and aquaculture estimated to be in excess of £ 40 million per year. The number of inundations of beaches by seaweed has also increased dramatically over recent years with ‘seaweed tides’ causing economic disruption to tourism, aquaculture and traditional fisheries The golden-tides of related pelagic species of Sargassum are particularly problematic in the Caribbean where tourism was worth US$ 29.2 billion in on-shore spending in 2014. One of the key recommendations of the Caribbean Sea Commission in 2015 for addressing the threat of the Sargassum is to support research on commercial uses of Sargassum. Commercial exploration of this biomass for food, fuel and pharmaceutical products could encourage its harvesting and control. Sargassum has a naturally high content of antioxidants, carotenoids and phenols, including the well-known anti-cancer compound fucoxanthin, making this species a potential source of a range of pharmaceutically relevant materials. Macroalgae may also be a potential source of fuel. This paper discusses the use of Sargassum for both fuel and high value products together with the processes required to exploit it, especially on handling the discontinuity of supply.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Speech)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sargassum; phaeophyceae; beach-cast; seaweed; macroalgae; golden tide
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2021 04:45

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