Sargassum seaweed could tangle summer fun in Mexico, Caribbean, Florida

Sargassum seaweed begins to release hydrogen sulfide as it rots, which can cause eye, nose and throat irritation. It also smells like rotten eggs

5,000-mile-wide , mass of seaweed Heads toward , the Gulf Coast.A massive blob of seaweed is headed for the shores of Florida and other coasts along the Gulf of Mexico.The mass of seaweed that formed in the Atlantic Ocean threatens to bring down the upcoming tourist season.Scientists have been tracking accumulations of a variety of seaweed called sargassum since 2011.Sargassum is known to form large blooms in the Atlantic, however this year's is the largest on record.Over the course of the summer, the mass will push west through the Caribbean and into the Gulf of Mexico

Travelers heading to Florida, Mexico and Caribbean destinations this summer should be prepared for the influx of sargassum expected to make landfall on beaches.

According to the Miami Herald, the University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Lab revealed the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt contained an estimated 13 million tons of seaweed at the end of March, a new record for the period.

As the stinky seaweed continues to increase in size, officials said the massive bloom would reach its peak between June and July, with experts revealing that major beaching events are “inevitable” in Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico throughout the summer.

“Given the complexity of its motion, growth and decay, it is not possible to forecast the timing of beaching,” a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokesperson said. “However, given the size and number of the current Sargassum patches, there is a strong chance that Sargassum carried by the Florida Current may reach the Florida coast despite wind and wave conditions.”

In response to USF’s report, the Quintana Roo Sargassum Monitoring Network said the largest landfall this summer would measure an estimated 650,000 tons and affect beaches in Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Cancun, Mahahual and Xcalak.

According to, the monitoring network’s director Esteban Amaro believes that only 5 percent will reach Mexican beaches, while another 90% would “continue on its way to the Sea of the Sargasso.”

Sargassum seaweed begins to release hydrogen sulfide as it rots, which can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, in addition to a rotten egg odor. Travelers are advised to avoid touching or swimming near the seaweed.

In March, Mexican Secretary of the Navy Jose Rafael Ojeda Duran announced the installation of 9,050 meters (around 29,691 feet) of anti-sargassum barriers, including 1,850 meters in Othon P. Blanco (Chetumal and Mahahual), 2,400 meters in Puerto Morelos, 2,500 meters in Solidaridad (Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras) and 2,300 in Tulum.