Major sargassum seaweed arrival threatens Mexican beaches

Mexico is getting ready to fight the massive wave of sargassum approaching Quintana Roo

Major sargassum seaweed arrival threatens Mexican beaches
The SEMAR has already implemented measures to fight the massive arrival of sargassum - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 24/06/2020 18:12 Manuel Espino Mexico City Actualizada 18:25

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A significant amount of sargassum is expected to arrive in Quintana Roo beaches during the next three months, warned Mexico’s Navy Ministry (SEMAR), which reactivated this month the strategy to fight this atypical phenomenon along with state and local authorities, the civil society, and the private sector.

The last monitoring report showed a larger presence of this seaweed in beaches at Solidaridad, Cozumel, Tulum, and Othón P. Blanco considered the worst affected.

The SEMAR, led by Admiral José Rafael Ojeda Durán, said that, since the beginning of June, personnel from the Navy is performing overflights and constant tours to identify the presence of sargassum, So far, 433.66 tonnes of sargassum have been collected.

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During the constant monitoring, they have identified the most affected beaches, located in the municipalities of Solidaridad, Cozumel, Tulum, and Othón P Blanco, he stressed.

He mentioned that they have installed 1,200-meters-long barriers in Xcalak and Puerto Morelos, as well as another 650-meters-long barrier in Mahahual, while another 1,200-meters-long barrier is being installed in Tulum.

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The SEMAR said the sargassum vessels it designed and built have already been approved and have provided positive results according to their characteristics and the capacities of their design.

It added the sargassum vessel “Fluitans” is assigned to the Benito Juárez municipality, the “Hystrix” to Puerto Morelos, the “Sinicola” to Xcalak, the “Vulgare” to Mahahual, and the “Cymosum” and “Horneri” to Tulum.  The vessels are named after seaweeds.

Regarding the rehabilitation of the sargassum vessel “Natans,” received by the SEMAR last year, the agency said is currently at the Salina Cruz port in Oaxaca; the unit will carry out duties in the Mexican Caribbean.

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The SEMAR added that 2,674 tonnes of sargassum were collected in May, which along with the 433.66 tonnes collected in June so far, amount to 3,108 tonnes.

The SEMAR stressed that the coordinated efforts have not been suspended at all and mentioned the importance of the participation from Quintana Roo society, the state and local government, as well as that of different members of the private initiative that have actively partaken in the project.

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