Cancun, Q.R. – The first known case of turtle deaths from heavy machinery removing sargasso from the beach has been reported.
This summer, many hotels became desperate to remove the masses of seemingly endless Sargasso from their beachfront properties. In an attempt to increase the removal process, some areas took to heavy machinery.
The first case of turtle deaths from heavy machinery on the beaches has been reported to local environmental authorities who have begun their investigation. They say they intend to file a complaint with the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) against the person responsible.
A member of a local Facebook group belonging to Playa del Carmen posted a YouTube video of their finding. It appears the video of the nest of dead turtles are within the vicinity of Iberostar Playa-Paradise. This is an area where machines have been used to remove Sargasso from the beach.
Liane Aké Canto, director of Ecology and Environment, explained that this incident took place after the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat) set guidelines for the collection of seaweed for each hotel area. These areas were not given permission to use machinery on the beaches in order to protect the turtle nests.
“We got the complaint (…) it was next to the Iberostar in the area bordering the south side,” she said.
She explained that Profepa will be responsible for executing the penalty. She went on to explain that that particular area is identified as a point of arrival for nesting turtles, and in accordance with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, no permission would have been granted for the use of heavy machinery for the collection of the Sargasso.
This is not the first report of turtle deaths this year. Last month, another nest of dead turtles was discovered and reported to the Riviera Maya Hub Environmental Group. At the time, officials were not certain of the cause of death. The dead turtles were found near Sandos Playacar in Playa del Carmen.