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Project Updates

Please visit this page often for news & updates on the barrier project, including real-time satellite tracking of the sargassum headed our way, a newsletter archives and updates to the timeline below..

Project Timeline

EcoProteccion Akumal (EPA), the Mexican non-profit established to handle barrier contracting and project management, is on track to complete the deployment of a sargassum barrier outside the reef in Half Moon Bay in early May 2023.  Here is a reverse chronological timeline of the project that summarizes completed work in black while pending tasks are highlighted in blue.  (To review the entire scope of the project, we suggest scrolling down to the entry dated July 2021 and reading up.)

May 2023

  • A local Barrier Maintenance Team will engage with a third party environmental group to initiate an environmental monitoring program to ensure the barrier does not cause unintended environmental damage.

  • A local Barrier Maintenance Team will complete in-situ adjustments to barrier infrastructure and transition from installation mode to maintenance mode.

  • A local Barrier Maintenance Team will use boats deployed from Akumal Beach to initiate barrier installation.

April 2023

  • Three container trucks will deliver barrier netting and buoys to a contracted storage location in Akumal Pueblo.

  • Import specialist, Dombar, will take responsibility for shepherding 3 shipping containers through Mexican customs

  • The commercial vessel carrying our barrier will arrive at the port of Progresso in mid-April.

March 2023

  • EcoProteccion Akumal (EPA) will select and hire a local Barrier Maintenance Team from among 3 current applicants.

February 2023

  • Our custom-made barrier was loaded onto a commercial vessel in Thessaloniki, Greece and is now enroute to the port of Progresso, outside Merida.

  • 1000 meters of custom-made, ruggedized mesh netting plus 650 buoys was rolled off the production line at a factory operated by barrier manufacturer, Okeanis, and loaded into 3 shipping containers.  After a quality control inspection, the manufacturing contract was paid in full.

  • Divers completed installation of environmentally sound anchorage, including 45 rod anchors, hundreds of meters of galvanized steel chain and 43 anchor marking buoys.

  • Our decision to install the barrier as quickly as possible was hailed by donors as a good move when the 2023 sargassum season stated early and was projected to be the worst one on record yet.

January 2023

  • A team of 3 professional divers with years of experience on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, drilled holes at designated GPS coordinates for the installation of 45 environmentally sound steel rod anchors using commercial grade epoxy.

  • A new bathymetric study of the sea floor was conducted over a wider area on either side of the adjusted installation path to determine the ideal GPS coordinates for the installation of an environmentally sound anchorage system.


December 2022

  • Significant research was done to identify the most economical sources for rigging, equipment, and other supplemental materials required for barrier installation.  A delivery and storage location was setup at an address in North Akumal.

  • A decision was made to invest in drones and underwater scooters to make barrier installation and inspection easier and less expensive.


November 2022

  • EcoProteccion Akumal (EPA), the Mexican non-profit established to manage barrier contracts, signed an agreement with barrier manufacturer, Okeanis, and paid an initial deposit for a custom-designed sargassum barrier comprised of 600 meters of mesh netting and buoy posts.

  • A team of professional divers (with experience on oil rigs) was hired to install 12 rod anchors in order to test a range of cost saving procedures for installing and operating the barrier. (Testing various procedures ahead of time,  allows us to streamline and perfect the installation process for the remaining anchors before the barrier arrives, and yields significant savings of both time and money.)

October 2022

  • A rep from a third party  environmental group participated in the site visit in order to prepare a detailed budget and project proposal for monitoring the impact the barrier may have on marine life, including the egress of turtle hatchlings from Half Moon Bay and whether barrier infrastructure might impact accumulations of sargassum on the southern headlands outside the bay.

  • A rep from barrier manufacturer, Okeanis, visited North Akumal to conduct a site survey, meet with the maintenance team and to finalize installation plans.  It was decided to perform a second survey of the seafloor to determine the optimum GPS locations for the barrier anchors, including a bathymetric survey (depth soundings) for the proposed barrier path.

  • EPA began interviewing local companies with the qualifications to handle barrier maintenance with the goal of hiring the top candidate in March of 2023.  Staff must be trained in ongoing maintenance of the barrier as well as in the use of specialized equipment such as drones and underwater scooters that will be deployed to cut time and maintenance expenses.


September 2022

  • Critical onsite visits were scheduled with a variety of project partners to better specify installation logistics and timelines and ensure these details are included in all project contracting. ​

  • Importation specialist, Dombar, was contracted to handle shipping and sheparding barrier thru Mexican customs. 

  • The HMB Sargassum Project team invested over 60 man-hours in contract negotiations with barrier manufacturer, Okeanis, to get the best terms possible.  Key negotiating goals include:

    • protecting donors’ investment 

    • quality control & testing requirements

    • Specification of delivery timeline and obligations

  • Our fundraising campaign surpassed a key milestone. With almost $400k in the bank, there was more than enough funding on hand to cover the entire cost of manufacturing, shipping and installing a sargassum barrier outside the reef in Half Moon Bay. So a decision was made to finalize a manufacturing contract with renowned barrier manufacturer, Okeanis, one of multiple manufacturers who bid on the project.

August 2022

  • Complications arose in obtaining an RFC number for Ecoproteccion Akumal (EPA), the Mexican non-profit established to handle contracting and barrier project management so an existing Mexican non-profit was engaged to assist with tax-deductible donations made in pesos.  

  • Our attorneys began developing contract templates for barrier maintenance services.  

July 2022

  • Community support for the project became very clear when, less than a month after the SEMARNAT mailing, 80% of pledges were converted to tax-deductible contributions!! 


June 2022

  • An announcement about SEMARNAT was sent to all property owners and local businesses who pledged financial support for the project along with a form for converting their pledge to an actual tax-deductible donation.

  • SEMARNAT completed their official review of our 42 page barrier proposal and sent us a notice giving the green light to proceed.

  • Jose Juan Dominguez, head of the CONAMP office in Quintana Roo hailed our proposal as one of the best researched and environmentally sound proposals he has ever seen.

February 2022

  • EcoProteccion Akumal (EPA) was officially registered as a non-profit civil association by the Registro Comercio in Playa del Carmen.


December 2021

  • Arturo Orozco of the Akumal Dive Center joins the HMB Sargassum Committee to assist in communications with both SEMARNAT and CONAMP, the government agencies with environmental oversight on projects such as ours.

  • The amount of financial support pledged by property owners and local businesses surpasses the projected cost of the barrier.


November 2021

  • Legal counsel was put on retainer to:

    • Establish a Mexican non-profit that can handle contracting and project management of the barrier project and….

    • Prepare a formal proposal for submission to SEMARNAT whose permission is required for all work done in the federal zone.


October 2021

  • The Yucatan Environmental Foundation (YEF), a US-based non-profit, entered into an agreement to assist the HMB Sargassum Project in collecting tax-deductible contributions from US residents and providing necessary receipts.

  • The barrier design was revised with input from marine biologists to ensure safe egress from the bay for turtle hatchlings. Design improvements included angling the barrier outward and an enlarged opening  at the northern end of 700 feet (nearly the length of 2 football fields)


September 2021

  •  Configuration of the barrier is modified based on the specific characteristics of HMB.  This allows for a shorter, open ended barrier that reduces the original budget from $600,000  to only $475,000.

  • Within 6 weeks of launching the website and an associated email marketing campaign, the HMB Sargassum Project garnered more than a quarter million dollars in pledges of financial support from property owners and local businesses.

August 2021

  • The HMB Sargassum Project announced their commitment to “sustainable financing” by publishing a budget that included a whopping $100,000 for environmental protection and monitoring!  Project goals were clarified to include not only the mitigation of the environmental damage caused by sargassum infestations but also the prevention of any ancillary environmental damage, including to turtle hatchlings who require safe egress from HMB throughout the so-called “sargassum season”

July 2021

  • The HMB Sargassum Project was established as an organization independent of Vecinos de Akumal Norte. Their first act was to publish this website explaining the causes and possible solutions to sargassum infestations in Half Moon Bay with links to information on a variety of companies engaged in a range of sargassum mitigation techniques from barriers and boats to mechanical removal from beaches, and spraying, etc..

  • Vecinos de Akumal Norte determined that the association, did not have the bandwidth or resources to act on the advice of members who’d been advising their Sargassum Committee.  Vecinos recommended these neighbors, instead, embark on an independent sargassum mitigation effort of their own.


PRIOR TO July 2021

  • The group advising the Sargasso Committee presented a list of commercial barrier providers along with a draft RFP for finalization and submission to each provider.

  • The group advising the Sargasso Committee conducted a bathymetric study of the seafloor in Half Moon Bay to determine the feasibility of anchoring a sargassum barrier outside the reef.

  • An informal group of neighbors with scientific and engineering skills volunteered to advise the Sargassum Committee of Vecinos de Akumal Norte.  Beginning in early 2019, they invested nearly 250 man hours in investigating the causes of sargassum infestations in the Caribbean and a wide range of commercially proven sargassum mitigation techniques.  Their unanimous recommendation was for the installation of a sargassum barrier outside the reef in Half Moon Bay.


Newsletter Archives


Real-time Tracking & Projections


SaWS - Satellite-based Sargassum Watch System

Sargassum Status & Projections

Where is it Now?


HMB Weather Station

Current Winds Map


Project Resources

Executive Summary

ROI Calculations


Manufacturer Profile

Barrier Design


One Project / Two Companies


HIZ Map (High Impact Zone on HMB)

Sargassum Committee Profiles


HMB Photo Gallery






Causes of Sargasso Blooms



Press Coverage & Scientific Articles

(See links at base of Resources Page)

Satellite Tracking
Commercial Uses
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