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Zofemat tests different sargassum collection machines

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — Officials with Zofemat are testing various methods of collecting sargassum at sea. The different methods are being looked at to improve collection efficiency.

The entire coast has experienced a large arrival of the algae already this season with forecasts of more to come. Rather than take on methods that do not work, officials from the Federal Maritime Zone (Zofmat) have been looking at the results before hiring the company.

Solidaridad Zofemat head, Lourdes Varguez Ocampo, said they are heading to one of Playa del Carmen’s hardest hit areas, El Recodo, where they will test a boat outfitted with a band that pulls the seaweed from the water and into the vessel.

If successful, this method would prevent the seaweed from reaching shore.

Vargurz said that the Navy will begin removing the washed up seaweed from Playa El Recodo with the help of five machines. She mentioned that it may be necessary to change the shape of the beach since its naturally concave form only helps to capture seaweed.

She also said again, that in a few more days, sargassum collection vessels will be arriving and the remainder of the barrier will be installed.

Last month, the navy reported that some of those collection vessels were undergoing maintenance but would be ready weeks ago. They have yet to arrive. The region is nearly half way through the sargassum season and barriers around Playa del Carmen are still not fully installed.

In mid-February, members of sargassum committees from Cancun to Mahahual claimed a pro-active approach to the arriving seaweed for the 2022 season, however, beaches have been hit hard by the continued arrival of sargassum.