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Cancun Beaches Are Still Free of Seaweed Despite Warnings of Early Arrival

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During the past few days, Playa Tortugas in Cancun had an unusual increase in seaweed (sargassum); however, this past Tuesday the beach looked cleaner and with an increased number of visitors, both national and foreign. After a tour of the various beaches of this top tourist destination, there was a noticeable difference in terms of visitors, compared to last Sunday and Monday, where a cold front affected and kept tourists away from the beach. This Tuesday, Playa Tortugas, had close to a hundred visitors that turned out to the beach to enjoy the warm turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean.

Starting next month, all the equipment in charge of removing seaweed will begin to be deployed. This seaweed season is expected not to be of massive proportion, according to Admiral Alejandro López Centeno, National Coordinator of the Strategy for the Attention of the macroalgae.  

For this work, he pointed out that the Secretary of the Navy will have sargassum vessels and boats and according to the reports and data of the University of Florida it is expected that seaweed will appear in smaller volumes, similar to those that they had back in 2020.  

According to images from the University of South Florida, the outlook for this year indicates that it would be similar to what it was in 2020, which was low, as long as the ideal water temperature conditions are maintained, that is, they are not extremely warm.

seaweed beach

“We are already preparing for the deployment in the first half of March of all available equipment,” he said. Once last season ended, in November, he said that preventive maintenance began to be given to the boats and equipment, and contact has already begun to be established for coordinated work with the municipalities, mainly where the arrival of seaweed is greater.  “We have held coordination meetings with the state and municipal governments so that they know the actions that are going to be taken, such as the configuration of the barriers,” he added.

Admiral Lopez Centeno mentioned that it is important to plan the work, and the tasks to transfer and the final disposal of seaweed. We are looking for ways to use it that are beneficial to the state.  The Sargasso Monitoring Network of Quintana Roo had warned back in November that this 2022 could be a year with a lot of upwellings. Usually, the seaweed begins to arrive in March and April, and from October onwards, there is no seaweed. The presence of seaweed is quite annoying for travelers because it prevents swimming and walking freely along the coasts.

Seaweed is a floating macroalgae that occurs in tropical areas of the planet, especially on the coasts of the Caribbean, with accelerated growth due to climatic conditions. The arrival of seaweed to the shores is a consequence of a natural phenomenon that occurs during the year and in a controlled manner. Pollution and the change in temperatures and water currents of the Atlantic make the amount of these disproportionate. Under normal conditions, seaweed is a beneficial algae for the ecosystem of the waters, being an excellent habitat for shrimp, crabs, fish, and turtles. But its uncontrolled growth poses a risk to the local wildlife and tourism in general.  

In recent years, the tourist destinations of the Riviera Maya and Cancun have suffered from the presence of seaweed scaring away travelers and tarnishing the vacation experience for some. Although it does not represent a risk for humans, its arrival always is a reason for concern. Hopefully, the weather conditions will continue to cooperate, so travelers will have the best experience visiting the destinations of the Riviera Maya and Cancun.  

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