Seaweed in Costa Maya: Latest on sargassum in Mahahual

July and August are months in which the influx of visitors increases, so it is a priority to keep the beaches clean and free of sargassum in Mahahual of Costa Maya.

Seaweed in Costa Maya: Latest on sargassum in Mahahual
Costa Maya: Mahahual seaweed conditions. Photo: Canal 10

Mahahual's beaches have less seaweed. Tropical depression number one, which affected the south of Quintana Roo a few days ago, was also responsible for "cleaning" the coasts of Mahahual, giving a respite to tourist service providers. Jhonny Tun, of the local association of Nautical Services, explained that since the passage of the meteorological phenomenon the beaches of Mahahual managed to recover from the tons of sargassum that arrived almost daily.

"Finally we have good news because since March the sargassum did not give us a break at all. Every day we had to remove tons of sargassum because the containment barriers installed by the authorities did not work. Today we can rest from these efforts and concentrate on offering a quality service to visitors".

July and August are months in which the influx of visitors increases, so it is a priority to keep the beaches clean and free of sargassum in Costa Maya.

The Sargasso Monitoring Network in Quintana Roo confirmed that at least for the rest of the week, the arrival of sargassum in Mahahual is programmed to be "minimal to scarce". While monitoring by the Secretary of the Navy indicates that in the next month if weather conditions do not change, only a few "islands" of sargassum will arrive in the municipality of Othón P. Blanco, which is expected to be contained in the sargassum barriers.

Sargassum barrier poorly placed in Mahahual

The anti-seaweed barrier installed by the Navy has not produced the desired results in Mahahual, as the strategy has been mistaken, affirmed Gerardo Pérez Zafra, representative of the Confederación Patronal de la República Mexicana (Coparmex) in this coastal community.

In an interview, the businessman pointed out that the situation in Mahahual continues to be the same, despite the recent visit of authorities, such as the municipal president, the secretary of tourism, and the Navy. "There they listened to the feelings and desperation of the population because they are experiencing a problem that is far from being solved", he stated.

This, even though Mahahual is composed of only two inlets and should be easily solved, he commented, because the Navy has not been able to close the area between the two inlets, which allows the sargassum that accumulates in the barrier to enter through.

Although 80% of the tourist zone is protected, the rest receives a critical amount that could mean the end for the businesses established there. The solution offered by the local business sector is to place the barrier in the form of a "prow", not in a straight line, to withstand the onslaught of the waves, something the Navy has not listened to.

As a result, he commented, the small boats that come to remove the sargassum from the barrier do not do their job, since a great part of it enters and lands on the coasts, in addition to the fact that the sargassum boats have not worked either.

Not very encouraging outlook; lack of strategy

Brigitta Ine van Tussenbroek, a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, announced that, according to satellite images, this year more sargassum from the Caribbean Sea could reach the state than what landed on the coasts of Quintana Roo in 2021 when 17,865 tons of seaweed arrived.

Patches of sea plants covering several square kilometers are observed in the sea and could appear on the state's coastline as soon as trade winds begin to blow from the Yucatan Peninsula, caused by heating and evaporation in the atmosphere around the Equator, characteristic of intertropical territories. The greatest algae influx will occur in the south of the state, between Mahahual and Xcalac, and in the north, it will arrive with special intensity from Tulum to Puerto Morelos.