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More Sargassum Barriers Deployed Across Mexican Caribbean Amid Rising Seaweed Levels

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Resort hotspots across the Mexican Caribbean are deploying a record number of sargassum barriers this spring amid forecasts suggesting more seaweed could hit the region this summer.

sargassum cleaning efforts in cancun

Not only is sargassum an eyesore for travelers in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean, but it also emits an unpleasant odor after washing up on shore. 

But with travel numbers projected to skyrocket thanks to the Maya Train, authorities are environmental experts are working on implementing state-of-the-art solutions to tackling sargassum once and for all.

With that in mind, here’s the latest on what’s being done to manage rising sargassum levels in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean.

Tourists on a Beautiful Beach in Cancun, Mexico

Government Mobilizes Mexican Navy To Assist Combatting Growing Sargassum Levels In Cancun 

Cancun’s splendid white-sand beaches draw millions of travelers each year to the coastal hotspot.

And while the city has a reputation for having some of the world’s best beaches, sargassum seaweed poses a huge obstacle to maintaining the city’s status as a leading beach destination. 

The issue extends way beyond Cancun, affecting hotspots from Holbox in the north to southern destinations like the tropical island of Cozumel and the historical hotspot of Tulum. 

Mexican navy vessel near Cozumel

To manage the growing issue, local officials are investing record amounts in deploying new sargassum barriers. This year, local governments are setting up up to 9000 meters of barriers across hotspots like Playa del CarmenMahahual, and Tulum, in hopes of containing the sargassum threat.

Sargassum barriers are one of the most effective measures in dealing with pesky seaweed.

Typically located several hundred meters from the shoreline, these physical barriers stop sargassum from invading local beaches.

Sargassum catching barriers

And while they can’t influence the thousands of tons of seaweed that form each year over the Atlantic, they are an important tool in the arsenal against seaweed. 

When combined with other efforts – such as manually cleaning beaches – sargassum barriers are a necessary measure to maintain excellent beach conditions. 

The sargassum season began in mid-March this year, with beaches in Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and the eastern side of Cozumel already reporting significant seaweed arrivals. 

a floating sargassum patch in the atlantic

The situation in places like Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Holbox remains favorable so far, although experts say that could change at a moment’s notice. 

To prevent the situation from quickly deteriorating, officials are taking a number of proactive measures. The backbone of Quintana Roo’s newly-released sargassum strategy involves tighter cooperation with the Mexican Navy, which has deployed a vast quantity of vessels to combat sargassum.

The country’s Navy has already helped collect over 950 tons of seaweed between January and now, with that quantity only set to further grow. 

a cancun beach with large amounts of sargassum

In addition to closely working with the Mexican Navy, Cancun has stepped up physical labor efforts to help protect beaches.

The coastal hotspot has a contingent of nearly 200 workers who are instrumental in removing traces of sargassum from morning until night.

Travelers can track current sargassum levels on the Quintana Roo Sargassum Monitoring Network’s Facebook page.

The non-profit organization releases weekly seaweed updates during the sargassum season, allowing travelers to plan day trips and longer stays to locations with minimal seaweed levels

a small beach in playa del carmen

While most visitors are keen on spending their vacation enjoying Cancun’s beaches, the resort hotspot is home to numerous aquatic attractions that are guaranteed to be sargassum-free. 

From cenotes in Puerto Morelos to the modern waterslides in Ventura Park, there are numerous alternatives to sargassum-covered beaches.

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