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“Alert: Massive Sargassum Threat in Quintana Roo! Is the Yucatan Peninsula in Danger?”

A massive patch of sargassum, estimated to weigh nearly half a million tons, has been spotted in the southern region of the Yucatan peninsula. This has raised concerns among the technical committee in Quintana Roo, who are responsible for managing the situation. Josefina Hugette Hernández Gómez, head of the state's Secretary of Ecology and Environment (SEMA), stated that the potential for this macro-algae to wash up on the shores largely depends on weather conditions and ocean currents. So far, these factors have helped in keeping the coastlines relatively free of sargassum.

SEMA regularly tracks sargassum patches that journey from northwest Africa to the Caribbean. However, this doesn't guarantee that all patches will reach the shores. Hernández Gómez noted that 2023 was an unusual year. Despite only collecting 42,000 tons of sargassum, this accounted for only 10% of the mass that was monitored. Since February of this year, some of the state's beaches have started collecting sargassum, recording a steady but minimal arrival of the macro-algae. A total of 9,250 tons has been collected so far, thanks to favorable weather conditions. Furthermore, the La Niña phenomenon is predicted to start in mid-July, which could lead to less rainfall and drought. These factors could significantly decrease the amount of sargassum washing up on the state's shores.

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The head of SEMA emphasized that the strategy for managing sargassum remains active and the state is ready for a potential large-scale wash-up. Numerous meetings have been held with committees and councils, and the nine departments involved are planning short, medium, and long-term goals to be included in the annual operational program. This thorough planning ensures that Quintana Roo can effectively respond to the arrival of sargassum, safeguarding its coastlines and the crucial tourism industry in the region.