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Mexican Navy Deployed To Clear Sargassum Seaweed From Cancun Beaches

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The Mexican Navy has been deployed to Cancun and Mexican Caribbean beaches in an effort to help clear massive amounts of sargassum from the shorelines.

Mexican guard Navy in the coast of Isla Mujeres

Sargassum seaweed is one of the main issues affecting travelers in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean this year, to the point that it has surpassed safety as the main concern faced by visitors.

Although harmless, the macroalgae tarnish the region’s stunning white-sand beaches are a major source of frustration among visitors, who primarily flock there in search of azure waters and powdery shores.

Over 3000 Tons Of Seaweed Removed From Popular Beaches In A Matter Of Weeks

It’s no secret that the Mexican Caribbean is dealing with record-shattering amounts of sargassum seaweed this year, prompting authorities to announce more aggressive measures to protect the region’s beaches.

Resorts, as well as officials across popular resort hotspots like Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and Isla Mujeres, rely on an extensive network of cleaners and heavy-duty machinery to keep beaches clean, although this has proven to be more challenging than in previous years as sargassum levels reach unprecedented highs.

To properly address the situation ahead of a potentially record-breaking summer for Mexico’s travel industry, officials recently deployed vessels from the Mexican Navy to assist in massive clean-up efforts.

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Mexican Military Navy in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo next to the palm trees

The Secretary for the Navy has deployed a total of 12 ships as well as 16 smaller vessels as part of a wider strategy to remove sargassum seaweed from public beaches.

The boats are operated thanks to over 350 Navy officers, whose primary goal is to ensure optimal conditions for beachgoers in the Mexican Caribbean this summer.

The Mexican Navy is also deploying some 9,050 meters of sargassum barriers as a preventive measure. Several resort cities like Playa del Carmen and Tulum have drastically increased the number of sargassum barriers this year to further improve cleanliness.

navy boat in mexican waters

In the past 15 days alone, the Mexican Navy has helped collect over 3000 tons of sargassum seaweed from public beaches, representing a whopping 28% of all sargassum removed so far this year.

If the positive trend continues and the deployment proves effective, travelers can expect to find significantly less sargassum than in the previous weeks. Beaches in the Riviera Maya have been among the most affected so far this year as sargassum levels continue to rise across the Caribbean.

Environmental experts have warned travelers to brace themselves for even more sargassum seaweed, an issue that has plagued the region for years already. Unfortunately, projections indicate further mass arrivals, leading many resort hotspots to invest more in anti-sargassum technology.

Sargassum in Chak Mol Beach, Cancun

According to the University of South Florida, 2023 will likely be a record-breaking year with regards to sargassum, with satellite images showing huge seaweed patched across the Atlantic and Caribbean, many of which will wash up on beaches from Cancun to Tulum.

The sargassum seaweed season is expected to last at least until October, says Rosa Martínez, an expert from the Academic Unit for Reef Systems, a Puerto Morelos-based research hub.

While sargassum can be cleaned up from beaches, its removal entails a complex process involving vessels, barriers, cleaners, and machinery to transport and store the foul-smelling macroalgae.

Despite the alarming news, travelers can still enjoy a handful of top-rated white-sand beaches across the Mexican Caribbean, such as those of Isla Mujeres and Holbox, which are known to have less sargassum than other areas.

Beautiful Palm Trees in the Caribbeans, with a lot of Sargassum Seaweeds by the beach

Visitors can check the Quintana Roo Sargassum Monitoring Network’s weekly sargassum updates when planning their Mexican Caribbean getaway.

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