Conservation strategy for healthy reefs in Cozumel
The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) in coordination with the three government orders, and in close alliance with the Cozumel Reef National Park’s Advisory Council, will maintain a temporary and partial suspension of activities to tourism and recreation of the Protected Natural Area (ANP), starting at the “Palancar” reef and covering the restricted use zone.
The Cozumel Reef National Park has available, as of October 7, eleven Reef complexes and the wreck “Felipe Xicotencatl” for tourist activities.
Cozumel, Quintana Roo as of September 23, 2019
As part of the strategies for the attention to Stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD), the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, in Collaboration with the Advisory Council of this National Park, a temporary suspension will be implemented as of October 7, 2019, of underwater activities from the “Palancar” reef and the area of restricted use, which includes the reef “Colombia” and the site “El Cielo”.
Temporary suspension of activities is a positive and necessary action for the health of the reef. The objective of this strategy is to give rest to the best preserved sites of the National Park and contribute to its recovery before the progress of the SCTLD. At the same time, other actions are being taken to meet water quality standards within the National Park.
These actions are supported by the results of scientific and technical studies carried out in conjunction with the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology of the UNAM, with the Autonomous Metropolitan University, Campus of Iztapalapa, civil organizations and of CONANP itself. The strategy will be coordinated with the Secretary of the Navy (SEMAR), the Port Captaincy, the State Government of Quintana Roo, the City Council of Cozumel, and a close alliance with the Advisory Council of this Protected Natural Area.
The partial and temporary suspension of activities will be for tourist and recreational activities in the zone; remembering that according to studies conducted by the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) 80% of the diving and snorkeling activity in Cozumel takes place within the National Park, which receives one million 800 thousand direct users per year; and that, on average, these visitors would be willing to pay 3,052 pesos per person on each trip to keep the reefs in better state of conservation. If no action was taken, missing attributes such as water transparency and biodiversity would cause Cozumel and its reefs to lose 12% of tourism per year, which is equivalent to one thousand 510 million pesos every 12 months.
Along this line of thought, to ensure that the conservation objectives of the area are met, the aforementioned sites will have supervision and surveillance, scientific monitoring and social communication actions, which include periodic meetings to assess the progress of the taken actions. It is important to note that the Cozumel Reef National Park has fourteen reef complexes for underwater activities, of which only three will have suspended activities. Eleven sites will still be available plus the wreck “Felipe Xicotencatl”.