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Riviera Maya sargassum companies now required to have a fishing permit

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — Local companies involved in the industrialization of sargassum are now being told they need a permit. Earlier this week, sargassum companies were notified of the permission request being made by Comisión Nacional de Acuacultura y Pesca (Conapesca).

The permit notification was sent by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources addressed to companies that industrialize the state’s unwanted seaweed. The request has left some wondering if the permit is not going to be followed by a federal government invoice.

Omar Sánchez, who has built and donated several homes made of sargassum bricks through his Sargablock company, was one of the notified companies. He said that after analyzing the emailed document, it is not clear if the permit request will be followed up by a request for a permit payment.

“We are going to be looking into this new regulation that they are requesting from us since we have sought solutions to the problem of the arrival of the algae, and although we want to adapt and work, we hope that it will not be made more complicated,” he said.

Companies who transform the seaweed into a product are now required to have fishing permits issued by the National Aquaculture and Fisheries Commission (Conapesca).

Rosa Elsa Rodríguez Martínez, a researcher at the Academic Unit of Reef Systems of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said that work is being done on developing guidelines for sargassum management.

She said it will likely be handeled in two ways. One will be as a resource for the industry, for which a permit would be required. However, until there is more information, it will be included in the national fishing chart.

The second is sargassum as a special management waste, and based on the General Law of Quality Infrastructure, a standard for that management will be created.

“What they have told us is that sargassum will not have an Official Norm, but a standard that would be the first in Mexico, thus being the progress that has been made so far,” she explained.

There are currently six companies in the Riviera Maya region recycling the tons of unwanted washed up sargassum.