Authorities take preventive measures for seaweed season in Mahahual


This year a more extensive barrier will be installed to prevent the arrival of sargassum to the coasts of Mahahual. For 2020, the municipal government allocated 1.5 million pesos from the tripartite fund between the federation, state, and municipalities for actions against sargasso, and for this year it is planned to allocate 4 million pesos to increase the protection of the coastline in the Costa Maya.

Officials take preemptive action for sargasso season in Mahahual. Photo: Courtesy of Ivy Romero
Officials take preemptive action for sargasso season in Mahahual. Photo: Courtesy of Ivy Romero

From now on, actions are being taken to deal with the arrival of sargassum, as the first patches of the macroalgae were expected to arrive this month, but the arrival was brought forward to last February.

It is worth mentioning that scientists consider that the sargassum situation is at a turning point; abnormal currents, climate change, nutrients from fertilizers derived from agriculture, residues from untreated water, and dust from the Sahara Desert contribute to the increase in sargassum biomass and volume. Natural and anthropogenic factors interact with consequences for the environment and societies.

Quintana Roo is the only state in Mexico affected by the pelagic algae, so as in the hurricane season, the sargassum season is taken into account to organize biomass collection activities.

In 2020, 17,865 tons were collected. The Ministry of the Navy collects sargassum in the open sea and shallow waters by installing barriers to prevent the algae from reaching the beaches. The Semar has six sargassum boats, 18 smaller boats, an oceanographic boat, and equipment for collecting biomass on the coast: tractors, sweepers, and other equipment.

Public beaches such as Mahahual are in charge of the municipalities, which in some cases put up barriers and local employees collect sargassum on the coast. The private sector is in charge of collecting and cleaning the beaches in front of their resorts and hotels. The barriers and the participation of private workers are under their decisions.