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Bay closed but tourists continue to swim with turtles

Tulum, Q.R. — Although there is a no-swim advisory in place for Akumal Bay for the month of September, few people are adhering to the plea.

For the month of September, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) has closed all swimming with sea turtles to allow for mating since September is the most active month. However, tour groups still visit the bay, swimming with the turtles in full snorkel gear.

The dilemma seems to have risen as a result of the granting of permits by the General Directorate of Wildlife. Tour groups continue to show up to swim with the turtles, even though it is prohibited for the month, adding to the deterioration of the sustainability of the sea turtles.

Tourists arrive daily either individually or in guided tours and are granted the rental of life jackets and snorkel equipment to enter the water, encouraging the ecological deterioration of sea turtles, corals and sea grasses by visitors.

The same government that banned sea turtle swimming in Akumal Bay for September is the same government that provided the permits to varying tourist vendors, allowing them to enter the bay even during restricted times.