As a result of climate change and overfertilization, excessive amounts of brown algae ‘Sargassum’ reach Caribbean shores every year. A long term research of scientists shows that the amount of Sargassum increased tenfold in the last decade and forecasts indicate that the number will increase in the next years.
Offshore, Sargassum serves as an important natural habitat for sea dwellers. But when it hits the coastline, it has several negative consequences:
1) ‘Dead Zones’. Areas with poor oxygen levels in the ocean establish when bacteria decompose the algae. This has deadly consequences for marine and coastal wildlife.
2) ‘Fishermen suffering’. Local fishermen suffer as dead zones lead to low fish yields and excessive amounts of algae get tangled up in their nets and rotors.
3) ‘Tourism Decline‘. Ashore, the rotting algae emit sulphur dioxide. Non-lethal, but still harmful and unpleasant, the smell and look of algae is causing a sharp decline in toursim numbers. Because most Carribeans are working in the tourism sector, they are facing increasing losses each year.
Our project refers to the following Sustainable Development Goals:
Sargassum seaweed is rich in nutrients (nitrogen, phosphate and potassium) and biostimulants. SeaSoilution wants to fight the Sargassum plague by producing organic fertilizer from the algae. The supply chain is short and environmentally friendly: We collect the algae in local cooperation and process it to organic fertilizer by drying and shredding it. The packaged fertilizer is sold to local farmers.
The effectiveness of our fertilizer in improving soil quality and long-term plant growth has long been proven by scientists (Louime et al., 2016). Our price is competitive and seaweed-based fertilizer fits the demand of organic farmers in the Dominican Republic.
Maria Magdalena Rochkova
Reynaldo Valdez Garcia