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Puerto Morelos collects 410 tons of sargassum in July

Puerto Morelos, Q.R. — Puerto Morelos continues their sargassum battle by teaming up with federal authorities for its removal. The municipality is working closely with the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat), the Secretary of the Navy (Semar) and the Secretary of Ecology and Environment (SEMA), respectively, to forcefully stop the arrival of sargassum.

Sema head, Gerardo Rosas García, said machinery has been brought in to remove the seaweed that has landed on municipal beaches. He reported that the latest cleanup is part of Zofemat’s permanent monitoring and daily beach cleaning.

The municipal official indicated that they will attend to the sweeping and collection of sargassum from south to north from The Fives Hotel to Desire Riviera Maya, and from north to south from Bahía Petempich to Crococun.

The municipality is also working with the Puerto Morelos National Reef Park, belonging to the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (Conanp), and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), for the access and exit of the machinery.

Sargassum vessel Natans collects seaweed off the coast of Puerto Morelos.
Photo: H. Ayuntamiento de Puerto Morelos August 13, 2023.

“This year, the arrival of the marine plant has been atypical since it made its appearance since January and at the beginning of the summer it gave us some respite. However, we remain in permanent monitoring and attending to areas where it is making its arrival since the heating of the sea water generates a greater detachment of sargassum according to specialists,” he explained.

Gerardo Rosas said that during the first half of the year, 6,220 tons were lifted off the coast of the municipality. January had a landing of 456 tons, February 396, March reached 1,777, April 1,644, May 1,560 and June had a considerable decrease with only 387.

He also commented that in July, the sargassum registered volumes of between 9 and 20 tons per day, which were collected by the beach cleaning staff from both Zofemat and the Municipal Public Services workers.

The seaweed is deposited at a designated site along Routes de los Cenotes.
Photo: H. Ayuntamiento de Puerto Morelos August 13, 2023.

The final accumulated was 410 tons during that month.

He said the approximately 2 kilometers of municipal anti-sargassum barrier is containing a large amount of the sargassum and preventing it from reaching the beaches.

Work with Semar’s oceanic sargassum collection vessel Natans, and two smaller vessels, are being used to tackle at-sea sargassum with 18 elements. The collected sargassum is being transferred to kilometer 1.5 of Ruta de los Cenotes where the sargassum deposit area is located.