Akumal, Q.R. – While most local companies respect the new Akumal Bay swimming with the turtle regulations, larger outside companies are not complying.
New regulations that went into effect earlier this year mean companies must now hold permits to offer turtle swimming for tourists. The permit also comes with a 12-person limit, but large companies from outside the region continue to violate the rules despite surveillance of the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa).
David Díaz Mora of Las Maravillas de Akumal, said that local businesses hold the appropriate permits to offer turtle swims in Akumal Bay, however, large companies coming from outside continue to violate the rules, showing up with large groups of tourists.
Large groups destroy the seagrass. The damage is heightened by dive shops that rent scuba flipper equipment to tourists then send them out without guidance or instruction. Diaz Mora said that another problem is people entering the non-designated areas. They enter the sea in the navigation or channel loading and unloading areas.
“You need to have regulation in the area,” he said. “We urgently need a management plan so that the competent authorities can create a management plan that is controlled by federal environmental authorities. Not by local people, not companies or by a service provider, because you can interpret evil, but whomever has the authority to regulate.”
Last week, the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) handed out 20 administrative disciplinary fines against seven tourist agencies that promote swimming with sea turtles. The companies arrived without the proper permits that are issued by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) for Akumal Bay.
The sanctioned business included Ocean Tours, Blue Caribe Ecotours, Scuba Tours, Cancun Adventure, Will Tours, Rogazz Tours and Mayan Nature. Fines can be as high as 3 million peso.