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Government plans Sargassum seaweed action for Cancun, Riviera Maya

Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — Government officials say that money is being raised and sea fences installed to contain the sargassum seaweed along the coasts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen for the 2019 season.

Ulises Gavia Díaz, director of the Zona Federal Marítimo Terrestre (Zofemat) in Solidaridad says that in less than 48 hours, they will be meeting with representatives of the state government to design the plan.

He says three companies, whose names were not disclosed, would be participating in the tender to place the 2.5 kilometers of sargassum containment barriers in the water off Playa del Carmen.

“What is asked of these companies is that they have experience, that they know about marine work, that they have proven experience in other places (…) obviously I cannot reveal what companies they are. We cannot reveal the names. It is professional respect,” he said in a press meeting.

He added that they have taken between six and 10 million peso a year from the Environmental Sanitation Trust to address the sargasso crisis, adding that they currently recover up to 140 tons a day.

“The placement of barriers and the final deposit site of sargassum are issues that, once the state government has the assets, will be considered jointly,” he said. He explained that the idea is to begin with 2.5 kilometers of network by the reef, adding that they have not yet decided on any official beach sites.

In Cancún, the state governor said that the municipal, state and federal governments will give 10 percent of their Zofemat revenues to deal with the sargassum. To this, other resources will be added including navy ships.

Governor Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez said that the government estimates some 600 million peso will be raised to deal with the immediate situation, in addition to “taking the first steps to medium and long-term solutions,” adding that the Navy are already in place for these plans to be coordinated.

The governor says that this problem is not local, but is widespread and one should look toward its origin.

“While the problem is federal, we do not sit idly by. Its impacts are state and municipal, hence the importance of coordination and the previous work that Quintana Roo and this government has done since last year.

“In the mid-Atlantic, there is a high pressure system high in the Azores. Its movement is in the clockwise direction. This means that its periphery is driving more sargassum that is located there, but we still have hope of being able to save the high season that begins at the end of this year.”