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CARDI greenhouse trials with Sargassum-derived organic fertilizer - photo - Milton Haughton - CRFM

Greenhouse trial with liquid organic fertilizer derived from Sargassum (Photo: M. Haughton, CRFM)

Belize City, Thursday, 7 December 2023 (CRFM)—Groundbreaking work has begun in the Caribbean to produce Sargassum-derived liquid fertilizers or plant growth promoters, as well as an organic compost from processed Sargassum, for eventual incorporation into farmer and grower practices in the Caribbean. The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), an inter-governmental organization of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute, are leading this initiative, under the Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience in the Caribbean Project, a multiyear project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

This builds on work undertaken by the CRFM since 2015, to address the persistent problem of recurring Sargassum inundations which have been plaguing the region for the past 12 years. Sargassum blooms continue to adversely affect the coastal ecosystems and economic sectors—such as fisheries and tourism—in many Caribbean countries, and clean-up efforts have been costly. Although Sargassum levels have fluctuated from year to year, the general forecast is for continued high levels of blooms and beaching of Sargassum in the foreseeable future. Climate change and nutrient enrichment of the oceans have been identified as major contributing factors to this phenomenon which has been affecting our region since 2011.

Saint Lucia - Sargassum on fishing beach - photo - Milton Haughton - CRFM

Sargassum inundation across a fishing beach on the island of Saint Lucia (Photo: M. Haughton, CRFM)


“Sargassum is a natural marine living resource that has been abundant in our coastal waters. It is often an unpleasant sight on our otherwise picturesque beaches, and rotting Sargassum heaps are hazardous to humans and marine life and environmental health. We must, therefore, find ways to use the Sargassum while neutralizing any potential negative effects of the heavy metals contained therein. The safe and profitable conversion of Sargassum biomass into innovative products to adapt to climate change and bolster economic resilience will also generate tangible economic and social benefits for local communities and present and future generations across the entire Caribbean,” said Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM.

The first phase of the project, which focused on testing the Sargassum to better understand how to handle and use it safely, was completed in 2022. This second phase, which commenced early 2023, focuses on product and process development. In May 2023, the CRFM concluded agreements with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Cave Hill Campus, and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), which are providing technical support for joint research and surveys to advance the second phase of the project. During this phase, the project will develop and evaluate liquid fertilizers and compost from Sargassum. The hope is that this initiative will help to protect the marine environment and coastal communities, and create jobs and value-added products, while contributing towards the reduction of the region’s high import bill for fertilizers used by farmers.

There are two very important guiding principles of this project. The first is the application of the precautionary principle which ensures that when there is uncertainty and a risk of harm, we should act with care and caution, guided by the best available scientific information. The second principle encompasses the circular economy approach, which ensures total utilization of the Sargassum to eliminate waste and pollution, which is good for people, business, and the environment. The Sargassum harvested from the sea will, therefore, be used to produce fertilizer, and the residue will be utilized to generate other products such as compost and building materials—all of which will be safe and effective for their intended purposes.

UWI has assisted with the process of producing liquid fertilizers from the Sargassum. CARDI has been conducting a survey of farmers to engender a deeper understanding of how they use fertilizers and their interest in a fertilizer product from Sargassum. This knowledge will enhance strategies to promote the uptake of the Sargassum-derived products for use in the agriculture sector.

CARDI is now completing a study to evaluate the performance of the liquid fertilizers developed with the assistance of UWI on crops under greenhouse conditions. Further studies will be conducted in the field with the assistance of farmers.

Since the commencement of the Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience Project in 2020, the CRFM and Plant & Food Research of New Zealand have worked with partners in Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic, and with specialized laboratories in the United States and New Zealand, to conduct Sargassum raw material safety testing and to review potential products that could be made from the Sargassum.

The final phase of the project, which is due to commence in 2024, will focus on the establishment of a pilot plant to produce liquid organic fertilizer, as well as on outreach and supply chain development, which would entail the dissemination of a workable model to industry stakeholders in the Caribbean. Through continued stakeholder engagement, the project will also gather feedback to guide future work, strengthen relationships with Caribbean enterprises, and develop sustainable pathways for the commercialisation of new Sargassum products.

– ENDS –



In case you missed it, here is the recording of our recent seminar on Sargassum Value Chain Development.


Published in Press release


Belize City, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 (CRFM)—Heads of national fisheries authorities from 17 Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will be meeting with observers and partner agencies in Jamaica near the end of this week, for the 15th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the primary technical deliberative body of the CRFM, for talks on the status of and recent trends in the fisheries and aquaculture in the region and plans for the future to strengthen the sector.

Ahead of the opening the hurricane season in June, the Forum meeting—slated for Thursday, 30 March, and Friday, 31 March, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in Kingston, Jamaica—will also address measures for adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management in fisheries.

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said: “Climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and disaster risk management are major challenges facing the fisheries sector and the wider economies of our countries. These issues continue to be high priorities for policy-makers and stakeholders because we need to improve capacity, information base and policy, and institutional arrangements to respond to these threats and protect our future. At this meeting, we will be discussing the USA sponsored initiative to provide risk insurance for fishers, among other initiatives to improve and protect the fisheries sector and ensure food security.”

The Forum will also discuss steps to strengthen cooperation and coordination between fisheries and environment departments, as well as partner organizations, in order to strengthen the conservation of marine species and critical habitats to achieve international biodiversity targets.

Haughton notes that, “Working together to improve the health of the marine environment and protection of vulnerable marine species while improving sanitary and phyto-sanitary systems and quality of fish and seafood, will produce tangible social and economic benefits for fishers and fishing communities. It is time for stakeholders in the fisheries and environment sectors to start working in a more cooperative and constructive manner to address common challenges.”

The Forum will be updated on the progress of technical activities being undertaken by the CRFM, its Secretariat, Member States and network partners, after which it will prepare recommendations on the way forward to be tabled when Ministers responsible for fisheries meet on 19 May in Guyana.

Outgoing chairman, Denzil Roberts, Chief Fisheries Officer of Guyana, will demit office after his 12-month tenure. Participants in the upcoming Fisheries Forum will elect a new chair, vice-chair and executive committee members, who will serve for the programme year, 2017-2018.

Published in Press release
Monday, 18 March 2013 22:16


Quick Facts:

  • Contribution to GDP: Overall percentage contribution to GDP by the agricultural sector was 7.3%, with fisheries contributing about 0.4% (ESSJ Report 2001).
  • Fishing Area:
  • The inshore fishery in the coastal waters of the main island, including nine proximal banks, usually subdivided into North Coast and South Coast.
  • The fishery on the Pedro and Morant Banks.
  • Deep-sea fishing, in all deep waters around the island and banks.
  • The Jamaica/Colombia Joint Regime Area near Alice Shoal.
  • Inland (riverine) areas, especially large river systems (e.g., Black River).
  • Fishermen: The Marine Capture fishery of Jamaica had 15336 registered fishers as at the end of December 2004. Most of these are artisanal fishermen operating from open canoe or reinforced fiberglass plastic (RFP) type boats powered by either outboard motors or oars.
  • Landing sites: 190 including two (2) on the Pedro Cayes and one (1) on Morant Caye (2004).
  • Fish Imports:

      1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
    Quantity (kg) 30,350,457 36,057,765 33,547,533 31,238,013 66,385,542
    Value (J$) 2,191,342,690.00 2,214,864,814 2,733,551,666 2,798,298,434 3,378,890,984
  • Fish Exports:
      2000 2001 2002 2003
    Quantity (kg) 997,510 1,582,149 605,999 936,306
    Value (J$) 42,625,571 540,253,239 265,482,376 460,678,076
  • Fish Processors: Minimum 10 (categorized as major or minor Fish Processors, based on the degree of processing).
  • Exporters: Minimum 10.
  • Vessel Categories: There were 4274 registered boats at the end of December 2004, operating in the industry, ranging from 3.6 to 9 m open canoe type boats (95%) to 15 M – 30 M decked vessel type (5 %).


  1. Fish Production from Landings
      1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

    Total Marine Fish Production
    Total Tilapia Production
    Total Fish Production 11,946.87 10,345.18 12,484.13 9,639.52 11,327.84 14,337.65 8,404.67 13,695.52

Related Link:

Fisheries exploited in Jamaican Waters


Fishery for Opsitonema oglinum, (Atlantic thread herring, locally known as sprat), Harengula jaguana (Scaled sardine) and Harengula humeralis (Red-ear sardine, locally known as pinchers). Opistonema oglinum is the most heavily sought after species in this fishery. Bait fish caught in this fishery (eg. Harengulids and Engraulids), caught by trammel and lift nets is very important as it supports the artisanal offshore (line) fishery and the recreational fishery.


Snappers, Parrot Fishes, Doctor Fishes

This fishery is generally for fish living over coral reef area. Areas where these fishes can be found: Rosalind Bank, Pedro bank, North Coast, South Coast, Morant Bank, other offshore banks and Alice Shoal. The coral reef finfish account for the largest catch category in Jamaica fisheries. The vast majority (98%) of the catch remains in Jamaica for either local or tourist consumption.


Spiny Lobsters

The Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) is widely distributed in the coastal waters and the offshore banks around Jamaica. Catch of spiny lobster comes mainly from the Pedro Bank (60%). Lobster is a high priced resource and represents an important component of the total value of the landings of the Jamaican commercial fisheries. Its’ production supports a local market (mainly the hospitality industry) and an export market. The export market earns an average of US$4-6 million per year.


White Shrimp (Penaeus schmitti)

The shrimp fishery of Jamaica is of significant economic importance, especially in the Kingston Harbour. The licensing and registration system of the Fisheries Division (LRS) records 44 boats (motorized and non-motorized) and 153 fishermen that fish for shrimp.

Hunts Bay is the major landing site in Jamaica. All the shrimp vessels in Kingston (Greenwich Town, Hunts Bay, Port Henderson, Hellshire and Port Royal) fish in Kingston Harbour and land their catch at Hunts Bay


The Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) fishery is the most valuable foreign exchange fishery in Jamaica. This resource is exploited on the island shelf and offshore banks. The predominant fishery occurs on the Pedro Bank. At present it is estimated that up to 95% of the conch landed in Jamaica originates from the Pedro Bank. However, small amounts are also fished from the Formigas Bank and Morant Banks. The amount of conch landed from the island shelf is so far not quantified but may be significant.


Deep Slope, Snappers and Groupers

The two most targeted species are Lutjanus vivanus (silk snapper) and Etelis oculatus (queen snapper locally called satin).

The deepslope fishing areas within Jamaican waters is relatively small. Catches from the deep slope represent approximately 10% of total annual catch of marine fish. The fishery needs to be better studied. There is also need for increased awareness among fishers of the vulnerability of the stock and the potential for over-fishing.


Mackerels, Tunas, Wahoo

This fishery is a small fishery accessed mainly with mechanized boats. This fishery is also used for tournaments and other sport fishing related activities.

Published in Member states

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