Cancun, Q.R. — Cancun and Riviera Maya tourism sectors have, for the past year, been working with the University of Galveston on dealing with the seaweed that seasonally lands on Mexican beaches.
In an attempt to combat the arrival of sargasso, the State Secretariat of Tourism (Sedetur) implemented a containment program with the help of the University of Galveston.
Much like a daily weather report, satellite images taken by the University of Galveston in Texas show how and where the sea grass moves in the Caribbean Sea, providing Mexico with a three-day forecast of its arrival.
Marisol Vanegas Pérez, head of Sedetur says, “We take the images of that satellite and determine what will arrive and when because we have three days of forecasting. This tells how it will be today, tomorrow and on the third day.
“We know that if the grass is going to land on a certain area we have to prepare the squads to clean the area when it arrives. That is what all the directors of tourism, of associations and the people who deal with sargasso do during the days,” he said adding “It is up to the municipal authorities and even the staff of the hotels, depending on the area, to prepare a crew. Thanks to the monitoring they know in advance if they will be affected.”
“You have to read the report. You have to look at it and you have to act accordingly. It’s a very interesting report that allows us to make decisions.
“We add a photo of the 15 most emblematic beaches in the state, from Chetumal to Holbox. In the report a daily photograph is uploaded and at 8:00 a.m. they receive in real time, the photograph of the beach in that moment and if it is covered with sargasso or not.
“This helps them to organize the time of their people who have to dispose of it,” he said.
The report features satellite photos and images collected from the University of Galveston that shows the sargassum spots. Municipality officials helping to monitor the sea grass were given a course by Sedetur to learn how to interpret the satellite images.
“It is a tool to expedite their decision making and know what will happen in these three days. They receive the photos every day. We have been with the program for more than a year,” he said.