SARGASSUM-FREE SUMMER SEASON: MINIMAL SARGASSUM ARRIVALS EXPECTED ON QUINTANA ROO BEACHES
One of the annoyances faced by tourists traveling to the paradisiacal beaches of Quintana Roo is the presence of sargassum, that macroalgae that arrives year after year to the Mexican Caribbean coast and usually spoils the vacations of those seeking a moment of relaxation on beaches with crystal clear waters. However, the good news is that a minimal amount of sargassum is expected for this summer and the next vacation period. Therefore, it will be “controllable” and can be easily cleaned, thus guaranteeing the best vacations on the beaches of Quintana Roo for both national and local tourism.
Sargassum is an invasive macroalgae that arrives to the beaches of Quintana Roo, in the Mexican Caribbean, during the summer season. Sargassum affects not only tourism, but also the environment and health. It contains toxic elements such as arsenic, copper, manganese and molybdenum, which can be harmful to humans, flora and fauna in the region. Despite efforts to find a solution, such as the installation of containment barriers and the recovery of the algae in shallow and deep waters, the problem persists.
SARGASSUM ARRIVAL FOR THIS SUMMER 2023?
During the next three months, including the summer season, it is estimated that there will be no arrival of sargassum to the coasts of Quintana Roo, according to Esteban Jesús Amaro Mauricio, director of the Sargassum Monitoring Network of Quintana Roo. The specialist mentioned that these forecasts are based on daily monitoring from Africa to the Yucatan Peninsula.
The explanations provided by the interviewee indicate that from the Antilles Arc to the Yucatan Peninsula there are approximately three thousand kilometers, and the sargassum advances about one thousand kilometers per month. Taking into account this speed, the distance and the scarce presence of the macroalgae in that area, it is predicted that the Caribbean coasts will be free of the algae during the mentioned period.
He added that there is a great amount of sargassum in the Atlantic Ocean and it could move towards the northwest, which would make that during the rest of the year the beaches of Quintana Roo look without the presence of the macroalgae or in its absence, with a low intensity presence that can be easily managed for its cleaning.
He stated that this tendency to change course by 20 to 30 degrees is due to the change in water temperature, a situation that also occurs with hurricanes.
“These will be the last arrivals of the season. According to what we have been observing through satellites, there is very little sargassum between Jamaica and the Yucatan Peninsula, and it is expected that, given that the sargassum has been moving northward, we will enjoy months with a lot of clarity, that is, without a significant presence,” he detailed.
Based on the above, a practically sargassum-free summer season is expected throughout the state, which is excellent news for the hotel sector. As for the current situation, the hydrologist pointed out that there is still some sargassum, especially in Tulum, where the monitoring traffic light indicates that there are medium to high intensity arrivals, mainly on beaches near the ruins area such as Mezzanine, Pescadores and Maya.
The latest update of the sargassum traffic light reveals that most of the state’s beaches are green, which indicates a low arrival; the seaweed has been arriving mainly to the east coast of Cozumel and the area between Puerto Morelos and Punta Nizuc, where there is an abundant amount, represented by the yellow color. Amaro Mauricio pointed out that in Cancun there have been very small recales and fortunately Zofemat has been carrying out a continuous cleaning, so the algae has not been very noticeable on the beaches. The continental part of Isla Mujeres is also free of sargassum.