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Published on Monday, July 5, 2021 | Updated on Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Mexico | Will 2021 set a record for Sargassum volume?

In addition to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourist activity of Quintana Roo will face again in this summer of 2021 an important arrival of Sargassum towards its beaches: it is possible that the volume of sargassum in the Caribbean Sea will approach or exceed the maximum observed in the last 20 years.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • In addition to the important effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourist activity of Quintana Roo will face again in this summer of 2021 an important sargassum spill onto its beaches.
  • In the month of May 2021, the amount of sargassum biomass in the sea reached a historical maximum for a month of May, an amount not observed at least during the last 20 years, and for the month of June 2021, the amount of this macroalgae approached the historical record reached in June 2018.
  • It is possible that some change in the climate or direct or indirect human actions contribute to this large bloom of sargassum observed in recent years. One of the possible explanations that are analyzed is the unusual increase in the concentration of nutrients coming from the Amazon River that reach the sea, related to the clearing of the forest, the increase in agricultural activity and the increase in the use of agro-fertilizers.
  • The authorities of the different levels of government and the private sector must coordinate efforts to continue and increase the actions of: 1) containment and collection of this seaweed in the sea before they reach the coast, and 2) carry out continuous cleaning on the beaches of tourist destinations.

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