Punta Cana, La Altagracia, RD.- The Puntacana Group Foundation offers a solution to manage sargassum by hiring local fishermen to harvest sargassum, promoting with this initiative an alternative to unsustainable fishing and involving the community in solutions to environmental challenges.
The vice president of the Foundation, Jake Kheel, explained that they have led the search for solutions to the sargassum problem in the country for a decade, since hiring constitutes an economic incentive for fishermen, supporting the tourism industry and limiting the impact from sargassum to tourism.
“We look for proactive strategies for the sargassum invasion that involves the local community. For example, our pilot with the ‘Coastal Collection Module’ (LCM) system, from the company SOS Carbón, allows us to collect sargassum at sea from artisanal fishermen’s boats. This method of harvesting at sea also allows the sargassum to be transformed once it has been harvested, generating other value chains, ”said Kheel.
Using the LCM system, developed by the technical team of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Fundación Grupo Puntacana has facilitated the training of 15 local fishermen, achieving the daily collection of up to 100 m3 sargassum with a single artisanal boat. During two months of operations in Punta Cana, more than 4,000 cubic meters of sargassum have been collected in the sea before they invade the tourist beaches of Punta Cana.
Kheel pointed out that this type of solution can be replicated in other areas of the country with less investment, because the LCM technology equipment is easily adapted to the small yolas used for fishing.
He also stressed that the collection in the water is what allows the transformation of sargassum into other products, which would not be possible if its collection takes place on the beach.
“We are currently initiating experiments with strategic partners to transform different organic waste, including sargassum, into biogas and composting.
The Fundación Puntacana Group is the non-profit organization through which Grupo Puntacana creates opportunities for well-being in favor of the inhabitants of the area and promotes innovative solutions for the preservation of the ecosystem of the region.
Source: Listín Diario