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Puerto Morelos gets ready for sea turtle season

Puerto Morelos, Q.R. — The government of Puerto Morelos says they are ready for the upcoming sea turtle season, which they note was a record-breaker last year.

Puerto Morelos mayor, Laura Fernandez, says the town is ready for the start of its Marine Turtle Conservation and Management Program that will run from April to November of this year. Ferndndez says that this year they will have more citizen participation to help increase the amount of protected nests.

In Puerto Morelos, there are three main beach areas where sea turtles arrive to spawn, Punta Brava, Punta Caracol and Petempich, and of these three, Punta Brava is the preferred egg-laying area.

Last year, the town reported 2,356 protected sea turtle nests along Puerto Morelos beaches that resulted in the release of more than 223,000 hatchlings into the sea. Fernandez says these numbers were an increase of over 100 percent from 2016.

She explains that last year, the town implemented additional training workshops and tours that included more than 1,200 students and the participation of staff from nine hotels.

“In Puerto Morelos, society and government are responsible for biodiversity therefore in this municipal administration we will continue to have priority programs related to the care of natural resources, the environment in general and especially the conservation of species,” said the mayor.

One of the goals of this year, she added, is to increase citizen participation with the invitation to students, environmental associations, private initiative and hotel workers to join. Areas of the federal maritime land zone will also be reinforced.

Laura Fernandez recalled that last year, Puerto Morelos received the government Award for Responsible Biodiversity which was specifically for the turtle program established in the “Puerto Morelos green, sustainable development and infrastructure” of the Plan Municipal Development 2016-2018.

The mayor highlighted the fundamental support of government agencies including Semarnat, Profepa and the Secretariat of Ecology and Environment of the state, that with their contribution and supervision these actions, helped ensure rules and official standards were met.

The municipal director of Ecology, Guadalupe Alcántara, said that immediate training will be available for users of the federal maritime land area, staff of hotels, restaurants and various businesses, students, as well as residents in general.

Beach clean-up sessions will be held in known egg-laying areas. The city will also increase nesting sign placements. Sea turtle season traditionally begins late May to early April and runs to the Fall.