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Open AccessArticle

Massive Influx of Pelagic Sargassum spp. on the Coasts of the Mexican Caribbean 2014–2020: Challenges and Opportunities

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Instituto de Ingeniería, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 04510 Mexico City, Mexico
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Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Autónoma del Carmen, 24155 Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, Mexico
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Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Universidad Autónoma del Carmen, 24155 Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, Mexico
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Unidad Académica de Sistemas Arrecifales-Puerto Morelos, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 77580 Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico
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PNUD-Resiliencia, Parque Nacional Arrecife de Puerto Morelos, CONANP, 77580 Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico
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Centro de Física Aplicada y Tecnología Avanzada, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 76230 Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, Mexico
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División de Ciencias Ambientales, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, 78216 San Luis Potosí, S.L.P., Mexico
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Unidad de Ciencias del Agua Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán AC, 77520 Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico
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Creamos más, S.A. de C.V., 44340 Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(10), 2908; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102908
Received: 15 September 2020 / Revised: 12 October 2020 / Accepted: 15 October 2020 / Published: 18 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Anthropogenic Impact on Coastal Environments)
Since late 2014, the Mexican Caribbean coast has periodically received massive, atypical influxes of pelagic Sargassum spp. (sargasso). Negative impacts associated with these influxes include mortality of nearshore benthic flora and fauna, beach erosion, pollution, decreasing tourism and high management costs. To understand the dynamics of the sargasso influx, we used Landsat 8 imagery (from 2016 to mid-2020) to record the coverage of sargasso in the sea off the Mexican Caribbean coastline, with a maximum reported in September 2018. Satellite image analysis also showed local differences in the quantity of beached sargasso along the coastline. Over the years, good practice for collection on the beach and for off-shore collection of sargasso have been established through trial and error, and the Mexican Government and hotel industry have spent millions of dollars on removal and off-shore detention of sargasso. Notwithstanding, sargasso also has various properties that could be harnessed in local industries. The stimulation of local industrial growth would offer alternatives to the dependence on tourism, as a circular economy, based on sargasso, is developed. View Full-Text
Keywords: sargasso dynamics; ocean coverage; beach cast volume; sargasso uses sargasso dynamics; ocean coverage; beach cast volume; sargasso uses
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Chávez, V.; Uribe-Martínez, A.; Cuevas, E.; Rodríguez-Martínez, R.E.; van Tussenbroek, B.I.; Francisco, V.; Estévez, M.; Celis, L.B.; Monroy-Velázquez, L.V.; Leal-Bautista, R.; Álvarez-Filip, L.; García-Sánchez, M.; Masia, L.; Silva, R. Massive Influx of Pelagic Sargassum spp. on the Coasts of the Mexican Caribbean 2014–2020: Challenges and Opportunities. Water 2020, 12, 2908.

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