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Cozumel service providers protest partial opening of park

Cozumel, Q.R. — Nautical service providers of the island demonstrated in front of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp) to demand that the El Cielo reef area be opened in its entirety.

Demonstrators also demanded that they be given the corresponding permits to begin offering tours in national park waters.

Cesar Cepeda, representative of la Asociación Nacional de Operadores de Actividades Acuáticas Turísticas, said that they are disappointed that it is still closed after two months of not being able to offer tours in El Cielo, adding that the agreement was to present a project, provide information and agree to be able to take care of the environment, but despite this, they do not allow them to work.

The protesters argued that they have complied with the agreement, adding that there are more than 100 boats that do not have work permits. They say la Comisión Nacional de Área Naturales Protegidas (Conanp) promised them temporary permits and they respect the agreement to open El Cielo in the national park.

They have requested the intervention of government environmental authorities to resolve the conflict.

Earlier this week, la Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas said that the reef areas of Palancar and Colombia would be reopened, but with conditions for service providers and that the reef area of El Cielo would remain closed until March.