YUCATAN MEXICO.- Tons of sargassum infest the northern coast of Yucatan, on a 100-kilometer stretch between the ports of Sisal and Telchac.
In the last two months, the cold fronts and storms led to swells that threw large quantities of these algae that are formed by excess nutrients in the sea. Authorities point out that another cause is the accumulation of algae in the Atlantic Ocean that travels to the coasts of the Yucatan Peninsula.
“The algae are generated in a very precise area of the Atlantic Ocean between he coasts of Brazil and Africa and then the seaweed travels long ditances carried by the currents, and finally lands here. In 2018, 85 thousand cubic meters of sargassum were collected in Yucatan, so far this year there are still no indicators of the volume that Yucatan will reach”. explained Toshio Yokoyama, director of Management and Conservation of Ecosystems of the Secretariat of Sustainable Development of Yucatan.
“These massive arrivals of seaweed are being registered since 2011, and year after year, the sargassum arrives in higher volumes. It still does not generate such a severe environmental problem, but we have to work at an accelerating pace to clean it up.” Yokoyama stated.
In areas like Puerto Progreso, villagers, merchants and even tourists gather the sargasso and bury it.
Regarding Quintana Roo, during 2018, 150 thousand cubic meters of sargassum were collected and thousands of tons more remained in the water. According to researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the arrival of algae will be massive in the Mexican Caribbean this 2019; a situation that most certainly will affect the tourism activity in this important world-class destination.
Monthly reports from the University of Florida indicate that, based on floating masses in open waters, the important concentrations will be registered in Cancún, Tulum and Chetumal.
Facing this situation, UNAM experts said that a comprehensive initiative is necessary to establish the most efficient ways to collect sargassum in the open sea without harming the ecosystems.
The Yucatan Times