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Sargassum surge returns to island beaches #549647
04/21/21 04:45 AM
04/21/21 04:45 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,302
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
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As tourism slowly returns across Belize and San Pedro Town, the invasion of the macro-algae, Sargassum, is also making a comeback to our beaches. This is not good for regions dependent on tourism, and as Belize struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Sargassum represents another challenge. While hoteliers and the sanitation department of the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) remove as much as they can, massive mats of algae continue to wash ashore daily.

Along the eastern coast of San Pedro, Sargassum has been piling steadily since the beginning of March. The SPTC takes care of public areas, while beachfront property owners continue to do their best to keep their areas clean. Other parts of the island, however, have been choked with brown seaweed. Out in the Caribbean Sea, scattered Sargassum mats slowly drift towards the islandsí shores and the mainland. Stakeholders say the situation in front of their properties is somewhat under control, but they believe that if the seaweed invasion is not adequately addressed, it could worsen.

The current status of the amount of Sargassum out on the Caribbean Sea is around 4.3 million metric tons as recent as March. According to monitoring reports, this is similar to the record amounts in 2019. This influx of the algae is expected to move west on the Caribbean Sea, beaching on the island nations along its way, including Belize and the Mexican Quintana Roo coast, before heading north into the Gulf of Mexico and onto Florida USA.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

Re: Sargassum surge returns to island beaches [Re: Marty] #549821
04/28/21 04:44 AM
04/28/21 04:44 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,302
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP

As warmer weather prevails and rising COVID numbers dictate outdoor activities Belizeans and visiting tourists alike are hoping to flock to the beach.

And while the weather may be just right, there may be something wrong with the water.

That's because it's once again the Sargassum season, floating brown algae with a rotten stench.

It's a nuisance that's both invasive and for many resort owners expensive.

It's a problem that resort owner of Naia Resort and Spa, Stuart Krohn has gotten under control.

He spoke to Cherisse Halsall via Zoom this afternoon and explained that while his solution is feasible for the bigger resorts smaller properties remain in an embattled struggle with the weeds of the sea.

Cherisse Halsall:
"We know there are certain, not dangerous, but perhaps inconveniences and health risks that come with Sargassum?"

Stuart Krohn, Member, Belize Sargassum Task Force
"Sargassum contains a whole lot of negative consequences, yes there is the health risk mostly to our own people, but in terms of what it does or doesnt do for tourism it just creates an odor, it creates a visual detriment to what people come here for, it doesn't allow you to bathe in the sea, the requirements to remove it it's a hugely labor-intensive chore to get rid of it. Placencia and Caye Caulker and a few private concerns in the country do have what they call a motorized beach rakes that help quite a bit to get rid of the sargassum, but even if you do dispose of the sargassum is still a problem. It just takes a lot of man power, a lot of expense and our local communities and the BTB and the central government just do not have those resources. It's something that we're going to have to deal with on an emergency basis, and just pray that it doesn't get any worse."

Cherisse Halsall:
"You've talked a little bit about it but as a property owner, what are you doing and what advice would you give to other property owners, maybe newer property owners?"

Stuart Krohn, Member, Belize Sargassum Task Force
"As a property owner and someone who controls a large stretch of beach, almost a mile that has no sea wall on it was kind of a no brainer for us to invest in a beach rig. It wasn't cheap, it was about 108,000 to get the tractor and the beach rake, but that works very well for us so we don't have that problem at my resort, but if you are a small hotelier with a limited amount of beach front, that solution is really not available to invest that kind of money to clean 100-200 feet of beach is not going to be economic feasible. So we are really stuck using the same method that we did when this scourge first came six or seven years ago, a lot of people, lot of rakes, wheelbarrows, dump trucks - there you go, its just one more thing that the tourism industry does not need right now, but we don't have a choice we have to get rid of it, because as tourism numbers increase we've got to provide the best tourism product that we can and one way or another we're going to do it."

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