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Environmentalists say Akumal Bay needs figures, monitoring

Akumal, Q.R. — Environmental officials say Akumal lacks proper monitoring and record keeping, factors that are damaging bay fauna.

Paul Sánchez Navarro Russell, president of the Mexican Organization for the Conservation of the Environment, is urging government authorities at all three levels to begin a monitoring system similar to that of Mahahual and Holbox.

He says that the large number of tourists that visit the Bay of Akumal on a daily basis are affecting the health of the sea turtles and damaging the sea grass. He says the number of tourists needs to be reduced considerably by implementing a system that counts the amount of tourists entering the bay as well as its inhabitants and tourist providers to know the daily load capacity for the bay.

Navarro Russell says that this study is urgently needed for the Bay of Akumal and should be considered strictly from a scientific basis and not an economic point of view.

“Based on my 20 years of experience, it should be considered that about 500 tourists be allowed to enter a day, but currently there are about 3,000 people immersing themselves in bay waters to observe the turtles.”

He explained that the high number of visitors to the bay has caused adverse reactions in the turtles and that the sea mantle is being affected, which is fundamental in the habitat of the sea turtles.

He said that 22 local suppliers have the corresponding permits to each have up to 12 people per day in the bay, but that other providers of services, mainly the hotels, will add up to 500.

“It is such an oversupply that even the street vendors already offer walks to observe the turtles. This cannot continue because it is damaging the sustainability of the ecosystem.”