Yahoo Travel has provided a solid overview of the current situation, so we have posted their article below. The original can be found here. For more information about how the SURF RAKE contributes to sargassum cleanup efforts, you can visit our sargassum/seaweed application page.
From the Riviera Maya of Mexico to the shores of islands like St. Martin, St. Thomas, and Anguilla, once-pristine beaches are being inundated by massive amounts of thick, brown seaweed that refuse to go away and are wreaking havoc on the ecosystems.
At a news conference on Tuesday, the Tobago House of Assembly declared a natural disaster and announced a $3 million budget to tackle the influx of seaweed on the island’s Atlantic coast.
A roped-off Riviera Maya beach, edged in seaweed. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom)
On July 30, Mexico’s Environment Department announced that the country would hire 4,600 temporary workers and spend about $9.1 million on cleanup efforts along the Caribbean coast, also known as the Riviera Maya. Cancun reported that it had removed nearly 100 tons of seaweed to date.
“In living memory we’ve never seen it this bad,” David Freestone, executive director of the Sargasso Sea Commission, told Yahoo Travel. “The worry is that this will be the new normal.”
Sargassum seaweed covers the bay and beach at Speyside in Tobago. (Photo: Farley Augustine)
On Antigua, seaweed piles have reached 4 feet tall in some areas. On Barbados, 42 turtles recently died after getting caught in the seaweed and suffocating. Shocking photos from the island of Tobago emerged this week, showing boats trapped in a bay blanketed in seaweed.
Making matters worse, the seaweed — which harbors sea creatures — emits a pungent scent when it begins to rot.