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Environmental authorities at Isla Mujers set new whale shark regulations

Isla Mujeres, Q. R. — A recent meeting between varying environmental authorities has resulted in an agreement to reduce the number of allowable dives with whale sharks.

A meeting with authorities of Reserva de la Biosfera del Tiburón Ballena says that tourists will be limited to two dives and must respect the use of life jackets.

Roberto Arias, president of Isla Bonita says that after their meeting with authorities of the Whale Shark Biosphere Reserve, it was agreed that “Now it will be two swims per tourist, they cannot go into sea more than twice,” he said explaining that on average, tourists enter the water six times to swim with the whale sharks, something they are hoping to avoid during the next season.

He also says that in addition to the reduction of swims, they are requesting a reduction in sighting months to only two, the months of July and August, for operators granted permits.

He added that propeller protectors have now been included in their operations plan, noting they are sending letters to the respected authorities to avoid the use of unprotected propellers on boats that offer the whale shark services.

The organizations say they are hoping that with these new restrictions, it will reduce the amount of stress on the whale sharks, noting that sightings have decreased over the years, especially during the first few weeks of their normal arrival.

An appeal has been made to the Ministry of of Environment and Natural Resources to impose the new restrictions.