Cancun,Q.R. – Environmental authorities estimate that the new sea-barriers are accumulating about 70 cubic meters of Sargasso per day.
To ensure seaweed-free beaches for the upcoming season, Berzunza Rafael Muñoz, secretary of Ecology and Environment, reported that the algae will be collected by boats and the cleaning of beaches will continue through the Temporary Employment Program.
“This degree of cleanup was a proposal for all three levels of government. Similar barriers like the ones we are using to stop the kelp have been used to contain oil spills. Then we will have the technical support of boats coupled with manual cleaning of the beach shores,” he said.
“The barriers we are using are supported by marine buoys. They are between 10 to 15 meters long and can connect to other buoys to cover more area. These particular barriers are designed to prevent trapping marine life.”
Muñoz Berzunza said there were other barrier proposals but they were rejected because they were prone to trapping marine species. He said this particular type of barrier is structured not to capture marine life.
A report from the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food showed that as of September 17, the barriers were already in place in seven municipalities of Quintana Roo and were already preventing about 70 cubic meters of seaweed from reaches the beaches each day.
The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) reported their test area to contain the seaweed “is located at strategic points according to the morphology of each coastal town. The barriers include about 220 kilometers of coastline. The trapped algae is collected by special boats. This technology reduces the maximum possibility of capturing marine fauna associated with the algae as well as endangered turtles and fish.”
Authorities say that since this is a pilot project, they will not disclose the exact placement of the barriers. Semarnat said they have spent 65 million peso for the barriers and boats needed to control the Sargasso. The federal government has set 150 million peso aside to deal with the unwanted seaweed.