The Regional Activity Centre for the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife for the Wider Caribbean Region
Caribbean Environment Program
DEAL Guadeloupe
United Nations Environment Programme
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GCFI 69th session

The 69th GCFI annual meeting has been very rich in terms of information related to the Sargassum influx.

- 3 posters have been presented during the poster session on Tuesday, November 8th
- Climate Regimes and Occurrence of Sargassum in the U.S. Gulf Of Mexico,
GUILLERMO SANCHEZ-RUBIO et. al (presented by Donald Johnson, co-author)

Population Genomics of the Sargassum Biome
LINDA AMARAL-ZETTLER et. al (presented by José Eduardo Martinelli Filho, co-author)

Taxonomic Guide to Pelagic Sargassum in the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic

- an informal meeting was held on Wednesday, November 9th with participants including coastal managers as well as researchers and representatives of NGOs and the fisheries sector. Discussion among the participants brought out several needs to cope with the issue. We identified different groups of stakeholders needing specific strategies to address the landings of sargassum in terms of management and communication: Government / Coastal managers, NGOs, Tourism, Fisheries and the public.

- 9 presentations have been given during the Technical session : “Understanding and management of the pelagic Sargassum influx in the Caribbean” hosted by the SPAW-RAC and SPAW Secretariat of UNEP-CEP in collaboration with the Association of Caribbean States, the Centre for Resource Management & Environmental Studies (CERMES - UWI), the Sargasso Sea Commission and UNEP-Global Programme of Action and Global Partnership on Nutrient Management.. The presentations provided the latest scientific information on the origin of the sargassum influx with consideration of oceanographic, climatological, ecophysiological characteristics (links with nutrient increases) as well as the genetic properties of the algal species involved and their associated fauna. There was also a focus on the current status of the forecasting research that highlighted existing data and expertise for setting up short-term predictions, and further described the ongoing efforts and progress towards developing long-term prediction in forecasting future potential landings. The debate has been rich and opened about the understanding of the phenomenon and management recommandations in response to the landings have been presented.

The presentation are downloadable below:
1. Ramlongan et. al, Fisher Impacts and Responses to Sargassum Influx Events
2. Johns & Smith, Sargassum accumulation in the Caribbean Sea in response to anomalous oceanographic and meteorological forcing in the North Atlantic Ocean
3. Siuda et. al, Genetic Variation Among Morphological Forms Of Pelagic Sargassum And Associated Hydroids
4. Taylor et. al, Biogeographic and temporal changes in mobile fauna comunity pelagic Sargassum in the Caribbean Sea 2015-2016
5. Martinelli et al., The floating Sargassum in the Amazon coast and associated invertebrate community
6. Feibel & Lapointe, Productivity and Nutrition of Sargassum: A Comparative Ecophysiological Study of Benthic and Pelagic Species in Florida
7. Marechal and Hu 2016 Predicting Sargassum Washing Ahore in the Lesser Antilles
8. Jonhson et. al, Pelagic Sargassum in the North Tropical Atlantic: Efforts at predicting coastal invasions
9. Oxenford et al. Management Recommedations : Coping with Sargassum strandings

One of the next steps of the on-going collaboration between the SPAW-RAC and SPAW Secretariat, the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies of the University of the West Indies, the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, the University of Southern Mississippi, and also the Association of Caribbean States, is to develop specific and short recommendations (several fact sheets and interactive videos). These will be prepared for each group identified according to the specific context of the landing areas (e.g. beach width, beach composition, enclosed bays, turtle nesting areas, wave action, etc.). If you are interested in joining us as a resource person, for the development of these recommmendations please send us an email stating in which area you will be able to help us (Communication, Management, Fisheries, Tourism, NGO, Governmental office, Research, Environmental education).

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Video summary of the status of sargassum science and management at GCFI 69th annual meeting :