It’s the superfood you’ve never heard of! Seamoss (also known as Irish moss) grows on rocks close to the shore across the Caribbean and is actually a type of seaweed. When refined it is used as the thickener, carageen. But the health benefits it boasts in its natural state are grabbing the attention of nutritionists. Rich in iodine, selenium, iron and other nutrients, it is used to treat skin conditions, infections and thyroid problems. It can be eaten raw or cooked but in the Caribbean is often boiled, mixed with nutmeg and blended with condensed milk to make an apparently libido enhancing wonder drink!
Locals have been enjoying the benefits of sea moss for centuries. Now at last tourists to the Caribbean may get the chance to enjoy the health benefits of this incredible sea vegetable. A new project in St Lucia, co-ordinated by climate change and development non-profit The INTASAVE-CARIBSAVE Group with The St Lucia National Trust and The Department of Fisheries, aims to scale up the capacity for sustainable seamoss production and work with the Government to explore new markets for the superfood. With the plethora of spas and hotels focused on wellness in St Lucia, expect to see seamoss inspired skin treatments, body wraps, health drinks on the menu soon!
The seamoss project is part of the Caribbean Fish Sanctuaries Partnership Initiative (C-Fish). This 4-year project is aimed at strengthening the management of community-based marine protected areas, by providing resources, training and alternative livelihood opportunities in five countries across the Caribbean. The focus in Saint Lucia is the Pointe Sable Environmental Protection Area where around 60 seamoss farmers from St. Lucia will benefit from training and certification in sustainable seamoss production. This covers climate change and environmental sustainability; marketing and product development assistance and also provides practical assets in the form of tools and equipment. In addition, the project has resulted in approved and certified national standards for seamoss production, which could be adopted right across the Caribbean.
Newton Eristhee, Eastern Caribbean Technical Coordinator from The INTASAVE-CARIBSAVE Group said “Sea moss production is a great way for former fishers in Point Sable to make a sustainable living and end their traditional dependence on fishing. Integrating seamoss use into their operations is a great way for hotels in St Lucia to offer something different to their guests and support local communities”.