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Cozumel mayor says temporary suspension gives reef system recovery time

Cozumel, Q.R. — Many state authorities are applauding the fast response of the National Commissioner of Natural Protected Areas with the partial closure of the island’s national reef system.

Given the condition of the reefs caused by the large number of tourists, the white syndrome disease has become a huge concern, which lead to the temporary closure of a portion of the reef.

Municipal President Pedro Joaquín Delbouis stressed that for the first time, the three orders of government and tourism service providers agreed that beginning October 7, visits to the reefs of Palancar, Colombia and El Cielo “will be temporarily restricted ” in order to give a respite to its flora and fauna.

At a press conference that also included Roberto Aviña Carlin of la Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas and Federal Deputy, Adriana Teissier Zavala, the municipal president indicated that this measure, common in other protected areas, will give a break to the coral, noting that once those three sites belonging to the Cozumel Reef National Park are reopened, others will be temporarily closed for the same purpose.

“El Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel has several coral areas. Tourists and the general population will be able to visit the other 11, which will be open during the temporary closure of Palancar, Colombia and El Cielo, in which access will be allowed again after December 15, at which time, rotation will begin in other places,” explained Pedro Joaquín Delbouis.

This precaution is being done in conservation of the reefs, which have had a great human presence, coupled with other factors such as climate change, which has contributed to their deterioration. The measure was requested years ago, but for the first time, there has been a consensus between authorities of the three government orders and tourism service providers, prioritizing the care of the environment and natural resources.

“Cozumel evolves in environmental matters and can be taken as a national and even international example, since from these actions, the best environmental practices that involve all sectors of society will be implemented in the destination,” added Joaquín Delbouis.

Again, he called on residents to not get carried away by false publications on social networks of political actors who try to discredit the image of the destination, and invited visitors to validate the information making sure it comes from official sources.

“Cozumel is still open to tourism. There are many places to see and enjoy. It is scientifically proven that temporary restrictions are beneficial because they allow the recovery of the species, which will allow us to continue admiring them for many years, and will be a watershed to improve practices in the future,” he concluded.

As of October 7, a section of el Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel will be closed for a few months to allow for reef and coral recovery, however, the other 11 snorkel and diving areas of the park will remain open to visitors.

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