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Municipal authorities announce intermittent closure of Bacalar lagoon

Bacalar, Q.R. — Municipal authorities of Bacalar have announced the intermittent closure of the Laguna de Siete Colores to vessels in an attempt to give the lagoon a break.

Pablo Antonio González, director of Bomberos and Protección Civil of the municipality of Bacalar, reported the voluntary closure of the lagoon to all maritime activities including boats “giving a break to the lagoon since it is the future of the community.”

He confirmed that starting February 26, each Wednesday, all maritime activities and all types of vessels will be suspended from the lagoon. While the move is not “by law”, he points out that the decision was made and approved by the Ayuntamiento de Bacalar and the Asociación de Náuticos who acknowledge the intense nautical activity that has increased in recent years.

Through a press conference, the mayor of Bacalar Alexander Zetina Aguiluz along with representatives of local boat organizations, announced the new plan, urging boat owners to join the action in favor of the lagoon.

Zetina Aguiluz says the intermittent closure of the lagoon will be added to the annual Day Without Navigation on March 22 on the occasion of World Water Day.

He clarified that they do not have power to sanction those who do not participate, but is anticipating the local desire to contribute to the preservation of the lagoon ecosystem. He also stressed that the lagoon closure will not apply during official holiday seasons, however, compliance for the rest of the year was requested from the Port Captaincy and will be monitored by the Secretary of the Navy.

“It is not by law, it is for the love of the lagoon, it’s for our future,” he explained.

According to recent studies, the 244 officially registered boats used for the thousands of lagoon tourists each year, are one of the main factors of lagoon water pollution.

A similar plan was implemented in Cozumel late last year in an attempt to help the reefs recover from the hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit the area for boating, snorkeling and diving when government officials temporarily closed sections of the Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel to tourism.