TULUM, Quintana Roo – The pristine shores of Tulum are facing an alarming rise in sargassum seaweed accumulation, with an estimated 20 to 25 percent increase during the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, according to Melitón González Pérez, the municipal director of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat).
Providing a detailed breakdown, Pérez revealed that in 2022, the monthly sargassum collection figures stood at 117 tons in January, 167 tons in February, 243 tons in March, 473 tons in April, 517 tons in May, and 530 tons in June, totaling a staggering 2,047 tons of seaweed.
In contrast, the sargassum collected in Tulum during the corresponding months of 2023 amounted to 235 tons in January, 729 tons in February, 572 tons in March, 531 tons in April, 314 tons in May, and 245 tons in June, resulting in a total of 2,626 tons.
Highlighting the fluctuations in sargassum arrival, Pérez recalled that they had collected one thousand tons during the first two months of this year. However, the subsequent months witnessed a decline in the influx of this marine fern, despite early-year satellite monitoring conducted by the University of South Florida, in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which had predicted a noticeable arrival of the phenomenon.
Addressing the current forecast of the Sargassum Monitoring Network, which indicates a minimal amount of the macroalgae reaching the Quintana Roo coast in the coming weeks, Pérez stated that they would remain vigilant regarding the situation.
Nevertheless, he emphasized that their efforts would not diminish, and the team of over 30 workers responsible for collecting the seaweed along the coastlines will continue their cleanup operations in Mezzanine, Maya, Pescadores, and Santa Fe beaches within the Jaguar National Park and Punta Piedra, located in the hotel zone.
Pérez acknowledged the need to closely monitor the consequences of this natural phenomenon, estimating that the season will persist until November. Therefore, they will continue working diligently to combat the sargassum invasion and maintain the cleanliness of the beaches.