Mexican federal officials expect the arrival of 32 thousand tons of sargassum seaweed in the country, a worrying statistic according to Admiral Rafel Ojeda, head of Mexico’s Secretary of the Navy (Semar).
The latest update on seaweed in Cancun (September 29)
By mid-October, sargassum seaweed season is expected to end on the Mexican Caribbean coast.
Update on seaweed in Cancun (September 16)
A study from the Quintana Roo Department of Navy (Semar) claims that as of this week, Sargassum seaweed would be less prevalent on the beaches in Cancun.
An investigation was carried out in collaboration with the Gulf and Caribbean Oceanographic Institut to ascertain how much sargassum might ultimately enter the Mexican Caribbean.
The lowest amounts of sargassum are frequently found on Isla Mujeres, Puerto Morelos, and Othon P. Blanco, with the largest concentrations being found close to the well-known beaches of Solidaridad, Cozumel, and Tulum.
The beaches of Isla Mujeres are already seaweed free. (More info)
Seaweed in the Mexican Caribbean to start decreasing soon, according to data (More info)
When does the sargassum seaweed season finish in Cancun?
Sargassum seaweed season in Cancun and around Mexican Caribbean finishes in October.
Where in Mexico is not affected by seaweed?
The Pacific and Gulf coasts of Mexico are not affected by sargassum seaweed.
How long does the seaweed season last in Mexico?
Sargassum seaweed season lasts around 6 months in Mexico. It starts in April and finishes in October.
According to studies by the National Autonomous University of Mexico, sargassum was first detected on the coast of Quintana Roo in late 2014 and increased in 2015. By 2018, the volume was concerning, and then it decreased.
However, according to Ojeda, the stats projected today are much higher than at the peak in 2018.
″There is a forecast of about 32 thousand tons. We are working to prevent them from reaching the beaches and if they do, to collect them.”
So far, 9,565 tons have arrived on Mexican beaches. Authorities have collected 9,467 on the coast and 97.7 in the sea.
The government has deployed a series of measures to fight the issue, especially in Quintana Roo, where Cancun is located and which has a higher number of visitors.
The Navy operates 11 seaweed collection vessels in the area, but records show that the amount gathered at sea is decreasing year after year.
In 2020, the Navy eradicated 4% of the sargassum in the water, but 96% was removed from the beaches. Last year, the number dropped to 3% and is now at 1% in 2022. Apparently, bad weather is hampering attempts.
Ojeda, who recently called the problem “alarming,” said that authorities are preparing for the largest amount of sargassum observed on Cancun beaches since 2018.
“The situation in the country, as described by the official: in Isla Mujeres, there is zero sargassum; in the municipality of Benito Juárez, on the Chac Mool beach, yesterday 5 percent was detected; in Puerto Morelos, on Pelicanos Beach, 20 percent; in Playa San Martin in Cozumel, 20 percent; in the municipality of Solidaridad, El Recodo beach, 30 percent; in Playa Maya in Tulum it is where more arrivals of this algae have been reported, 40%; while in Othón P. Blanco, in El Mahahual, 15%.”