Half Moon Bay vs. Sargassum: Residents of Half Moon Bay joined with Centro Ecológico Akumal to battle the large amount of Sargassum that has been washing into the bay. The Sargassum has been a concern this year, and just as Akumal Bay business owners and employees joined together to help clean the beach, Half Moon Bay residents knew they had to come up with a plan. With the support of Héctor A. Lizárraga-Cubedo, Director of CEA, and Mauricio Acevez, Coordinator of Tortugas Marina program, the plan was developed and presented to the government, then word was put out for volunteers. The date was set for the HMB Sargassum Clean Up. First and most important was to protect the turtle nests. Yellow caution tape encircled a few nests. As usual the people of Akumal were ready to help, so ZOFEMAT, CEA volunteers, students from Wallacea project, tour operator Altournative employees, and whoever wanted to grab a rake- shouted, “Let the clean up begin”! By end of the day the beach smelled better, looked better, and the showing of community support made the Half Moon Bay Sargassum Clean Up Day an overwhelming success!
Of course, the one-day clean up was just the beginning. Property management and owners have continued the seemingly endless removal of sargassum. Currently, outside labor has been hired and a number of properties organized by Nan Armstrong have banded together to share the cost. Some residents whose properties are not significantly affected by the seaweed have made donations.
HMB beach, unlike Akumal Bay beach, is too soft to support the use of machinery, so removal is done manually. The sargassum is then loaded by bobcat into trucks and hauled to the landfill. One manager who independently handles sargassum removal from his properties takes some to his home to use as fertilizer and chicken feed. He may be on to something!
Is the end in sight? A writer in http://costamayalife.com/2015/08/24/the-journey-of-the-sargassum/said, “I was told this morning from a very reliable source, that some scientists and experts in Mexico have determined that the seaweed problem is coming to an end, and should be off the beaches of Mahahual and the rest of the Caribbean by October. This is coming from the government and sources out of Cancun.”