Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 14, 2019

Seaweed resources of Mexico: current knowledge and future perspectives

Erika Vázquez-Delfín ORCID logo, Yolanda Freile-Pelegrín ORCID logo, Hugo Pliego-Cortés ORCID logo and Daniel Robledo ORCID logo
From the journal Botanica Marina


High diversity of marine macroalgae is reported for Mexican coasts, including numerous endemic species. Seaweed research in Mexico has focused on the northern regions of the Pacific coast (Temperate Pacific and Gulf of California) and on the Mexican Caribbean coast, leaving aside other regions (Tropical Pacific and Gulf of Mexico). Utilization of seaweed resources within the country has been based on artisanal collection of wild populations mainly for polysaccharide extraction, fertilizers, raw material for animal feed and cosmetic products. The main exploitation has occurred along the coasts of Baja California peninsula, based on few species (Gelidium robustum, Macrocystis pyrifera, Chondracanthus canaliculatus and Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis). Governmental regulations for management have allowed harvesting to reach approximately 11,500 wet tons per year (2013–2016). Nevertheless, in recent years (2014–2016) the total seaweed import volume has increased (5302 tons per year in average) over the export volume (2156 tons per year in average), suggesting a notably growing demand for seaweed resources in the country and representing an opportunity for investment projects. Several pilot studies on seaweed cultivation in Mexico propose that sustainable aquaculture techniques could complement the harvest in natural populations and ensure a homogeneous production with high quality in the long term.


We kindly appreciate Prof. A. Critchley and Dr. J.L. Godínez-Ortega (IB-UNAM) for comments and historical information on the Seaweed resources of Mexico. Photographs in graphical abstract came from V. Ávila (Cinvestav), J.J. Ramírez-Rosas and A. Mazariegos-Villarreal (CIBNOR) and Botánica Marina IIO (@botanicamarinaiio IIO-UABC). This review has been supported by the following projects: CONACYT PN-2015-01-575 (DR, EVD), CONACYT PN-2015-01-181 (YFP).

  1. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


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Article note

This article is part of the special issue series of Botanica Marina: Seaweed resources of the world: a 2020 vision, starting publication in Botanica Marina 2019, vol. 62, issue 3. The series will be guest-edited by Alan T. Critchley, Anicia Hurtado, Leonel Pereira, Melania Cornish, Danilo Largo and Nicholas Paul.

Received: 2018-07-13
Accepted: 2019-04-05
Published Online: 2019-05-14
Published in Print: 2019-06-26

©2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston