What’s Behind the Drop in Tulum’s Sargassum Levels?

June 16, 2024
Today´s Paper

What’s Behind the Drop in Tulum’s Sargassum Levels?

What’s Behind the Drop in Tulum’s Sargassum Levels?

Tulum sees a significant drop in sargassum, collecting 646 tons in early 2024 versus 2,448 tons last year, signaling a potential reprieve for beaches and tourism.
What’s Behind the Drop in Tulum’s Sargassum Levels?

TULUM, México —In the first five months of 2024, a significant decrease in sargassum collection was observed in Tulum compared to the same period last year, according to data provided by the municipal Directorate of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat).

Zofemat’s records show that from January to May of last year, 2,448 tons of sargassum were collected. In the same period this year, the figure is just 646 tons—almost four times less. This marked reduction highlights a notable decrease in the presence of sargassum on the beaches managed by Zofemat. Specifically, in January 2024, 43 tons were collected; February saw 50 tons; March recorded 81 tons; 193 tons in April; and 279 tons in May.

It is important to note that Zofemat is responsible for maintaining the beaches of the Tulum National Park and Punta Piedra, areas that have been heavily impacted by sargassum influxes. The decreased amount of sargassum collected could be welcomed news for coastal communities and tourists visiting the region. However, Zofemat in Tulum emphasizes the importance of continued vigilance and attention to combat any changes in the situation and ensure the preservation of the beaches and marine ecosystem.

As reported by The Tulum Times, the sargassum season for the Mexican Caribbean started intensely. Many hoteliers and tourism service providers who depend directly on the beaches feel they are not prepared to face it. Despite the encouraging reduction in sargassum collection, the unpredictability of sargassum blooms requires ongoing readiness and proactive measures.

Sargassum, a type of seaweed, has become a significant environmental issue for the Caribbean coast, affecting tourism and local economies. Ocean currents often carry the floating algae mats and can wash ashore in massive quantities, causing problems for beachgoers and marine life. The decay of sargassum on beaches can lead to foul odors and attract insects, making it a pressing concern for beach maintenance teams and local businesses.

The reasons behind this year’s reduced sargassum influx are not entirely clear. Factors such as ocean currents, wind patterns, and temperature changes can all influence the movement and accumulation of sargassum. Researchers and environmental scientists continue studying these patterns to predict better and manage future sargassum blooms.

What’s Behind the Drop in Tulum’s Sargassum Levels?

In Tulum, the response to the sargassum issue has included beach cleanup efforts and preventative measures. Barriers have been installed in the water to catch sargassum before it reaches the shore, and special boats are used to collect the seaweed at sea. These efforts, combined with the natural reduction observed this year, have helped to keep the beaches more accessible and enjoyable for visitors.

Local businesses, particularly those in the tourism sector, are cautiously optimistic about the reduced sargassum levels. Hotels and resorts have reported fewer guest complaints and a more pleasant beach experience. However, they remain aware of the potential for sudden changes in sargassum levels and the need for rapid response capabilities.

Sargassum’s environmental impact is not limited to the beaches. Large amounts of seaweed can affect marine ecosystems, smothering coral reefs and seagrass beds and depleting oxygen levels in the water as it decomposes. This can have cascading effects on marine life, from fish to sea turtles. As such, managing sargassum is not just about maintaining tourist appeal but also about protecting the health of the marine environment.

What’s Behind the Drop in Tulum’s Sargassum Levels?

The efforts in Tulum to manage sargassum reflect a broader regional challenge faced by many Caribbean destinations. Collaboration between local authorities, researchers, and the tourism industry is crucial to developing effective strategies. Public awareness and community involvement also play key roles in addressing this ongoing issue.

Tulum’s approach to sargassum management will likely continue to evolve as new methods and technologies become available. The lessons learned from recent years’ experiences will inform future actions and help ensure that Tulum remains a beautiful and sustainable destination for residents and visitors alike.

Get Tulum's Latest News Direct to Your Inbox

Maybe you will be interested

Boats Sink in Tulum Park Amid Heavy Rains

Boats Sink in Tulum Park Amid Heavy Rains

Heavy rains caused ten boats to sink in Tulum National Park, sparking controversy as authorities blocked emergency access, leaving the maritime community demanding answers and support.