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Mexico’s Navy to help fight Caribbean sargasso

Cancun, Riviera Maya, Q.R. — In a press conference Tuesday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador reported that the Secretary of the Navy will be responsible for creating a plan to deal with the sargasso issue along the Quintana Roo coast.

While he has guaranteed federal support to deal with the problem, he says that the navy will present their strategies next week, adding that the federal government will carry out the plan “in a coordinated manner.”

He explained that he has requested the help of the navy since they have equipment and experience to deal with the issues at sea, noting that “there is coordination between the municipal governments of Quintana Roo and the governor, as well as the entrepreneurs of the sector.”

He says solving the problem is not about hiring specialized companies to deal with it “if we have the navy,” explaining that technicians are available to deal with the problem and it’s necessary to use what’s available to act with efficiency and savings.

López Obrador says the navy has planes to detect flows and the transport of drugs in boats, noting that they have all the technology, boats, first class technicians and naval bases in Chetumal and the Caribbean, and that they know the region well, understanding the purpose is to have a plan against the arrival of sargassum.

“We will help, and so will the state government and municipal governments.”
The announcement came after a recent meeting between the president and the Secretaries of Tourism, Miguel Torruco, the head of Ecology and Environment of Quintana Roo Josefa González, the director of Fonatur, Rogelio Jiménez Pons and the Secretary of the Treasury, Carlos Urzúa.

Alfredo Arellano Guillermo of la Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales of Quintana Roo explained that the problem of the sargasso does not exclusively affect Mexico or the Mexican Caribbean, but also more than 17 countries throughout the Caribbean basin.

He says that this entire region is without experience for its containment, adding that Quintana Roo is a pioneer in the application of such strategies.

To date, the strategy to deal with the sargasso has included a coastal division into nine zones and two islands: Mahahual-Xcalak, Tulum, Akumal-Puerto Aventuras, Puerto Aventuras-Hard Rock, Playacar, the area between the Playa del Carmen docks, Ultramar Pier-Punta Maroma, Punta Nizuc-Punta Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres.

The state government has planned to contain the seaweed arrival with large boats offshore to prevent it from reaching the coast with smaller containment boats near the shore to pick up was does pass.

The government of Quintana Roo says that approximately one billion peso will be needed to implement the two-stage strategy to deal with the unwanted seaweed this season.