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January 2020    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 46, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Cozumel Reef Closure Update

from the January, 2020 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

In October, authorities in Cozumel announced on very short notice that many of the reefs popular with visiting divers would be closed to allow scientists to verify the damage done by stony coral tissue loss disease.

One of our undercover reporters went to Cozumel to see how the ban was affecting the diving elsewhere around the island. You can read his report in an Undercurrent Insider's Blog here.

With the peak diving season approaching, there was an outcry of protest from the island's dive operators, who anticipated a large drop in divers and revenue. Political pressure was brought to bear, but as recently as the first week of December, nobody at CONANP, the Mexican authority in charge of the national reef park, would confirm or deny the rumor that the ban would be lifted.

Right after we issued Undercurrent's mid-month email, we received a copy of the notification sent out by the Department of Culture for Conservation. From December 15, 2019 to March 31, 2020, scuba and snorkeling activities will be allowed in the reef zones from Palancar to Colombia.

The diving prohibition will continue at El Cielo. Beginning April, a third stage of the reef conservation strategy will begin, with a rotating rest plan for these sites being developed. During August and September 2020, they plan to suspend diving and snorkeling in the area from Colombia reef to the Bricks and Cuevones sites of the Palancar reef system, when coral spawns.

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