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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Scientists explore reefs in Yucatán to document damage from tourists

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A group of scientists embarked earlier this week on a 14-day expedition to examine damage to the Yucatán reefs at Alacranes National Park. 

Arrecife Alacranes is a heavily visited area, which has greatly affected the coral reef. Photo: Courtesy

Their objective is to gather concrete data on the human toll on marine life there.

Scientists will document the effects of illegal fishing and tourism in the reefs of Alacranes and Bajos del Norte in the Yucatán Peninsula. They hope to evaluate the area’s biodiversity, and with updated information, demand that environmental authorities strengthen its conservation efforts. 

Arrecife Alacranes National Park has the largest coral structure in the southern Gulf of Mexico. It is also one of the most diverse internationally, so it has a better chance of surviving the effects of climate change. Despite being a protected natural area, illegal fishing, pollution, and other tourism impacts continue.

The 14-day expedition aims at documenting the human damage made to the coral reef. Photo: Courtesy

The other reef area that scientists will document, Bajos del Norte, has been little explored scientifically and lacks any kind of protection. 

The vice-president of Conanp stated that the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) does wonders with the budget it has to take care of the reefs. 

Arrecife Alacranes is a longer trip by boat, which complicates its protection. Photo: Courtesy

But since Alacranes is a long trip from the coast, it is an expensive area to look after. He considers necessary an increase in satellite monitoring of fishing boats, motorboats, and yachts.

Earlier: Stranded fishing boat harms Yucatán reefs

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