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25/05/23: Northern Ambergris Caye resort acquires Beach Surf Rake to remove Sargassum

The Sargassum situation continues to affect Caribbean nations like Belize, which harms tourism. Stakeholders in places like San Pedro, Ambergris have joined the municipality in hiring labor to clean the beaches, but it has not been enough. The manual work even adds to the beach erosion, and it is hard to keep up with the daily influx. To get ahead of the game, Las Terrazas Resort north of San Pedro Town has acquired a special beach surf rake that can remove the rotting seaweed while leaving the sand behind.

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The significant investment will keep their shores Sargassum free, and their resort booked and busy.

At a demonstration, the machine, a Barber Surf Rake, showed the mechanism of Sargassum removal. The operator shared that the aim is to lift the debris, in this case, Sargassum, but to leave the sand on the beach. One of the advantages explained is that the surf rake can work in dry and wet conditions. Despite the salty conditions, the machine is also durable and can last for decades. Any other properties on the island interested in using the surf rake can contact Las Terrazas to make arrangements.

Mayor Gualberto’ Wally’ Nuñez said having such a machine on the island allows his team to use this alternative to tackle the Sargassum situation in San Pedro Town. He said he would like to test the surf rake’s performance downtown. The Mayor explained that a lot of human resources are needed daily to keep the beaches clean. “It’s not only manpower, but it takes a lot of resources as well,” said Mayor Nuñez. In a month, expenses can exceed $10,000 to keep the beach areas clean. The Mayor thinks the beach rake will help tremendously to control the invasion of the brown algae.

Another approach to deal with the Sargassum beaching on Ambergris Caye is the Hol Chan Marine Reserve’s plan to obtain and install Sargassum barriers and boat-like machines called harvesters to collect the seaweed on the water before it reaches the coast. Hol Chan plans to execute this project via a $3.5 million loan from the Social Security Board. There are no updates on the loan or project.

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