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Facilities to Test Sargassum Important to Unlocking Potential

For Release Upon Receipt - Monday, March 11, 2019

Oasis Labs-5ed-3-12-2019.jpgIf Barbados is serious about exploring the full commercial potential of sargassum, there is an immediate need for a laboratory which is capable of analysing and grading the seaweed.

That is the view of entrepreneurs and co-founders of Oasis Laboratory, Kemar Codrington and Mikhail Eversley.

“We have been fortunate to have the biomass analysed for pollutants outside of Barbados, but this will not serve us well as a nation if we are to benefit from this resource,” the team stated.

OASIS Laboratory was founded in 2018 by Codrington and Eversley, two graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at The UWI Cave Hill. The venture has been solely self-funded since its start-up and has also received business support from the Student Entrepreneurial and Empowerment Development (SEED) programme.

Their product line includes a variety of bath and body soaps and body butters, with plans to expand into lotions, balms, scrubs, shower gels, toothpaste, shampoos and conditioners, massage oils and moisturizers. Products incorporate local items such as breadfruit, tamarind, lemongrass, along with the sargassum.


The response to their current range has been overwhelmingly positive.

“. . .We have received requests and inquiries from around the globe. This has been fueled by some of our clients and customers shipping samples to their friends and families aboard to ‘boast’ and ‘show of the novelty of our products’.”

They were also able to secure a partnership with an eco-hotel which will see them supplying some of the OCEANbyOASIS soaps in its rooms.

“We have also had a few other hotels, including one major brand, indicating their interest in our products for their rooms. This may be a good indication that there is great potential in achieving our objective of supplying every hotel room on the island with our products.”

While there are plans to expand, the entrepreneurs will require grant funding to do so.

“Expansion will give us the capacity to operate on a similar level as Algas Organics in St Lucia, to utilize the seaweed for local and external markets.”

They also believe diversification and expansion are both possible with greater partnerships, such as public-private collaborations and allied research with The UWI and other key players “on the most efficient way to utilize the sargassum seaweed to the benefit of our economy.”

In 2015, the Cave Hill campus convened the first regional effort to address the challenges and opportunities associated with sargassum. Discussions from the one-day symposium produced a management brief titled, Golden Tides: Management Best Practices for Influxes of Sargassum in the Caribbean. The document provided the most recent information on the sargassum influxes, and gave guidance on sustainably managing the seaweed, including potential economic and ecological value, collection and disposal options, and disseminating information to the public.

The second symposium was held on November 21 to 22, 2018, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The two-day meeting brought together government officials, academia, civil society and representatives from development agencies, who comprehensively examined and assessed sargassum’s threats and opportunities as well as discussed enhanced communication and collaboration between sectors, including fisheries and tourism, at multiple levels across the region.

PHOTO: Mikhail Eversley and Kemar Codrington


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