Sargasso Situation Causes Tourism Cancellations in Caribbean, Is Belize Next?

With the start of the region’s high tourism season a few months away, some officials are calling for an emergency meeting of the 15-nation Caribbean Community, worried that the worsening seaweed influx could become a chronic dilemma for the globe’s most tourism-dependent region.

Even though the problem is not as bad in Belize, businesses and residents are still feeling the negative effects of the seaweed that keeps on piling up. But it seems that residents on the island of Ambergris Caye are busy tackling the problem and working on solutions before the situation gets out of hand like at other locations in the Caribbean and Mexico.

While beachside businesses are keeping their beach sections clean, the San Pedro Town Council is looking at possible methods to keep public beaches clean of the never-ending Sargasso. The removal of the seaweed from the beach is being discouraged as valuable sand is also removed in the process, causing more erosion. The San Pedro Town Council is closely monitoring such operations that are clearing Sargasso piled up by their employees.

Sargassum experts say that while the sargassum washing up in normal amounts has long been good for the Caribbean, severe influxes like those seen lately are “harmful algal blooms” because they can cause fish kills, beach fouling, tourism losses and even coastal dead zones.

Whatever the reason, the massive sargassum flow is becoming a major challenge for tourism-dependent countries. It is great to see that San Pedro Town residents are taking action before the problem worsens to uncontrollable levels and starts affecting the tourism industry.

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