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I am still getting all kinds of searches and questions on this blog about the Sargasso seaweed washing up on the beaches here, and in Mexico.  Every day I get searches like…. “Caribbean seaweed problem 2015″, sargasso in mahahual”, and others related to this subject.  I also get a lot of questions like, “How long is the seaweed going to be on the beaches”, and “Is the seaweed going to affect my cruise ship stay in Costa Maya”?

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Here in Mahahual, and all along the Mexican Caribbean, crews every day are cleaning and removing the beaches of all the seaweed in the major tourist areas.  I have written several articles about this in the past months, and what is being done here to keep the beaches clear of seaweed for the tourists.




I know the Mexican government, and the Mexican Board of Tourism is concentrating very heavily on the problem now, and have come up with several solutions.  I have read that they even have water tractors in Cancun now, that have been converted to handle the seaweed, and clear it off the beaches.  There are also nets being put up in several locations to catch the seaweed, and transport it to locations to be converted to fertilizer.

So the problem of the seaweed is being addressed, and a solution should be in place soon.  I have also read that the seaweed should be dissipated by the end of October, right before cruise ship season, and the high season here.

It also comes and goes.  Yesterday we sat out on the beach in front of the Tropicante, and the seaweed was not all that bad, and the day was quite enjoyable, with sun and a nice breeze.

There are currently five crews in Mahahual working to clean the beaches daily, and are doing a good job.  It is not an easy job shoveling and loading seaweed into wheelbarrows all day in the hot sun.

So I hope this is the last article I will have to write about the “Caribbean seaweed problem of 2015”.  So today I am enclosing an article which updates on what is going on down here to control the seaweed, and a video that shows how the seaweed is being harvested and collected by boats in some areas.

So rest assured “Snow Birds”, and tourists coming to Mahahual this winter, the seaweed problem should be taken care of by then, and the beaches will be back to their natural normal state.

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The continued presence of sargassum (a.k.a sargasso, sargazo) on the beaches of Mexico continues to be a concern to many travelers. For those wondering what their experience will be like on their upcoming vacation, we invite you to read more about the problem and how local authorities, hotels, and students are handling the situation.

As reported in our post “Mexico and Mother Nature – What you Need to Know 2015“, the sagassum occurrence – which actually has many ecological benefits – is not dangerous nor continuous and often unpredictable. One week there may be large mounds of sea weed heaped on the beaches and obscuring the translucent sea, while others the beaches are perfectly clean. Many hotels are taking measures to provide clear beach access through clearing the sea weed and removing it from the beach, while others are unable or unwilling to do so due to a lack of human and financial resources, an unwillingness to alter naturally occurring patterns, or long-term concerns that the sea weed will actually protect and enhance their beaches in the long-term. The sea weed accumulation has been most prolific on the stretches of exposed beach and less noticeable in areas that are protected by natural headlands, bays, or coves. In general, and as of writing, the highest accumulations seem to be concentrated around Tulúm with less density of sea weed deposits as you head north to Cancún. Cancun is almost unaffected by the current episode as is Isla Mujeres. Read more: What You Need to Know about Sargassum Invading the Caribbean.

Update August 5: Mexican authorities say they will spend about $9.1 million and hire 4,600 temporary workers to clean up mounds of seaweed that have accumulated along the coast. The seaweed removal will cover Holbox in the north through Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa de Carmen, Cozumel, Akumal, Tulum and as far south as Mahahual. Read more: Mexico to Spend $9.1 Million on Seaweed Cleanup .

Update August 8: Government officials plan to place mesh nets over a two kilometer stretch of Tulum beach. Once caught in the mesh, the Sargasso seaweed is then picked up by boats and returned in the sea current that is directed toward the Yucatan Channel. Read more: Mexican Authorities Finding Permanent Solution to Sargasso Problem.

Update August 18: The innovative concept to prevent seaweed from reaching beaches using nets has produced positive results. By using the nets, up to 80 percent of the sargassum is caught before reaching hotel beaches. Not all beaches have implemented this system as there are concern about disturbing nesting turtles and other sea life. While not entirely effective, it has helped to keep some beaches clear of seaweed for tourists. Read more: Sea Nets Catching Sargasso, Clearing the Way for Tourists.

Update August 20: A group of technology students from a local university are searching for ways to positively use the masses of unwanted sargasso. They are studying to see if it can be composted and used as fertilizer on farms in local villages. Mexico’s Ministry of Evnvironment has designated certain areas for research and have provided workshops about the treatment of sargasso and its benefits for production purposes. Read more: Local Technology Students Turn Sargasso into Fertilizer.


Here is a video showing boats collecting the seaweed.


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina


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