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among others. Although words like “threat” and “danger” continue to be used alongside sargassum in many conversations, there were a surprising number of uses of words like “opportunity” at the event. “Culture blinds you from seeing abundant resources and opportunities,” said entrepreneur and UWI graduate student Mark Hill at the symposium. In his presentation— “Building a Caribbean Seaweed Industry”—he spoke of how countries such as China were cleaning seaweed off the beaches within a few days and putting it to largescale commercial use. Founder of Innogen (a sustainable energy company) and BioGen (a company set up specifically to collect and utilise seaweed), Mr. Hill has become a major advocate for sargassum processing. And he is not the only one.

“Initially, sargassum was something I was speaking to other economists about in terms of its impact on tourism,” says Professor Winston Moore, Head of the Department of Economics at The UWI Cave Hill Campus. He says that when he began to look more closely at the topic following a request from Pro ViceChancellor and Campus Principal, Professor Eudine Barriteau to become part of a multi-disciplinary campus team focused on the phenomenon his views changed. “I saw there was a close link with one of my main areas of research, which is the green economy,” Professor Moore explains. His presentation was on “Harnessing Sargassum Seaweed: a Green Economy Opportunity”.

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UWI Pelican Issue 14