Cancun, Q.R. – On average, three boats per day are fined for non-compliance to swimming and whale shark touring.
Hugo Navarro Solano, director of the Caribbean Biosphere Reserve, says that the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) has sanctioned many boats for violations already this season since this year, only 240 boats were granted whale shark touring permits.
The Commission for Protected Natural Areas (Conanp) reduced the number of boat permits for the 2017 season after taking into account the preservation of the environment, population load and conservation of sustainability for the areas of whale shark sightseeing.
As a result of the decreased permits, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of the Navy have verified numerous boats offering the service without authorization.
“Every year, more service providers will request more permits as they want to profit from this tourism activity,” said Ricardo Gómez Lozano, regional director of Conanp in the Yucatan Peninsula and the Mexican Caribbean.
The most popular spots to see whale sharks is between Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy. Whale shark season generally runs March to September with the peak season being July and August.