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Navy agrees to cancel shooting exercises on island sanctuary

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Isla Contoy. Photo: Wikipedia

Mexico’s Secretariat of the Navy has canceled shooting practice on a preserve north of Isla Mujeres amid rising opposition against the plan.

The Fifth Naval Region had indicated that nearly two weeks of exercises were scheduled on Isla Contoy starting Tuesday.

Ch’ooja Ajauil AC and fishing cooperatives in the area complained that shooting ammunition at the island, which is a national park, is an important habitat for marine fauna.

The Navy exercises would have also affected commercial fishing activity, opponents said.

Isla Contoy is only 8.5 kilometers / 5.3 miles in length and has an area of 3.17 square kilometers / 1.22 square miles. It was declared a national park in 1998, more than 25 years after the Mexican government declared it a protected area.

Eco-tourism and regulated commercial fishing are allowed, but only a few tour companies have permission to bring a maximum of 200 daily visitors to Isla Contoy.

The Loggerhead, Green, Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles all nest on the island. The reserve is also a sanctuary to approximately 152 tropical marine birds including the frigate, brown pelican and the double-crested cormorant.

With information from Palco Noticias, Wikipedia

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