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Irma inundates Isla Mujeres beaches with seagrass, cleanup underway

Isla Mujeres, Q.R. — More than two tons of seagrass have been manually removed from beaches at Isla Mujeres due to the passing of Hurricane Irma.

After the passing of Irma, Mexico’s beaches from Cancun to Playa del Carmen suffered extensive wave effects referred to as mar de fondo or deep sea, resulting in several closures. The passing of the hurricane also meant the arrival of tons of seagrass.

The island of Isla Mujeres was the hardest hit by mar de fondo as well as with the unexpected arrival of the seaweed. Staff from the Federal Maritime Zone (Zofemat) spent the day manually removing the sea grass from the beaches, careful not to disturb sea turtle nests.

Vladimir Vallejo Molina, management head, said that in a single day, approximately two and a half tons of sargazo was removed from the north beache, noting that the seaweed arrived due to the phenomenon known as mar de fondo.

Vallejo Molina said they will continue with the removal of the seaweed and will also closely monitor the behavior of the waves to avoid more seaweed build up to beach areas already cleaned.

He also mentioned that nautical activities in the north zone are back to normal and that port navigation to the island has been opened. However, other activities such as sport fishing and whale shark sightings still remain off-limits.