In view of the decrease in the arrival of seaweed to the coast of downtown Playa del Carmen, the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat) proposes not to replace the anti-sargassum barrier, which was removed last month after several storms.

According to Marco Antonio Loeza Pacheco, director of the Zofemat, they expect the arrival levels of the algae to drop even more by the end of the month, therefore they are proposing not to place it again due to the investment of time and personnel involved in the installation of the infrastructure.

"We are evaluating together with the Navy, as we know, the seaweed arrival season is about to end, it officially ends on September 30, the season has always been from March to September", explained the official.

So far this year the municipality has collected almost 19 thousand tons of seaweed and, according to the Sargasso Monitoring Network of Quintana Roo, the main beaches of the locality are with low and moderate arrival of seaweed, after having excessive parameters at the beginning of the summer.

"We have an accumulated recale of almost 19 thousand tons, that is why now the recale is already very minimal, we are now receiving 30 to 40 tons per day, which is totally controllable, this can be controlled on the same day, the most important thing is to see if it is worth installing it", said Loeza Pacheco.

The barrier, which supported the containment of seaweed from the pier of the maritime terminal of Playa del Carmen to the area of Mamitas beach, was installed in the spring season, although it was removed again on some occasions and for a short time due to weather storms; later, after the impact of Hurricane Grace it was removed again from the maritime area; it should be noted that the bad weather has continued in the town since then, so it has not been placed again.

Loeza Pacheco mentioned that if in the end the Secretary of the Mexican Navy, who is in charge of the work, decides to install it again after a thorough analysis, it will be placed again in the protection zone.

Current Playa del Carmen seaweed conditions.
Current Playa del Carmen seaweed conditions. Green is clear, red means excessive sargassum, while yellow indicates moderate amounts. Image: SEMAR

Do you know what sargassum is?

Sargassum is a brown seaweed of the genus Sargassum. It can be seen floating on the surface of the ocean. It is composed mainly of two species, S. natans, and S. fluitans. It serves as an important habitat for many marine species, providing food, shade, and shelter for fish, shrimp, crabs, and turtles.

This year during the months of March, April, May, and June, the arrival of hundreds of tons to different beaches of Quintana Roo occurred again. This massive arrival is caused by multiple factors such as the increase of nutrients, water temperature, marine currents, and winds. Atypical quantities of seaweed called sargassum have arrived on the different beaches of the state of Quintana Roo.

One of the causes of this phenomenon has been proposed that it is originated by the detachment of aggregations of this species in the "Sargasso Sea", which is a region of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Sargassum comes from Africa and reaches the part of the Amazon where it begins to nourish, rapidly increasing its volume, and then continue advancing until it reaches the beaches of Playa del Carmen.

The seaweed problem is not exclusive to the state, it is a natural phenomenon present in several parts of the world and even in several areas its arrival is greater, however, it can be emphasized that no one has achieved as much progress as Mexico in the fight against this seaweed. The Sargasso Monitoring Network publishes daily on Facebook how to find all the beaches in the state regarding the arrival of the sargassum.