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Part of Cozumel National Park temporarily suspended to tourists

Cozumel, Q.R. — The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas will temporarily suspend all aquatic activities in a part of the Cozumel Arrecifes National Park due to excessive coral damage.

The partial closure of el Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel was decided during a meeting of the Advisory Council formed by state and municipal authorities, civil society organizations and businessmen, who unanimously endorsed the closure.

Brenda Hernández, deputy director of the Cozumel Reef National Park, announced that beginning October 7, tourists will be banned from the reefs that run from Punta Palancar to Playa Box, which includes Colombia, El Cielo and Palancar.

Hernández Hernández said that the marine ecosystems in that area are the most visited by tourists and are under great duress, which is why they need to apply actions to protect them.

She stated that after receiving the results of several studies, the decision to temporarily close the area was made to lighten the load, which is subjected to visitors every day, and attempt to reduce the impact of coral bleaching, which she added, has killed around 50 percent of Cozumel corals.

According to study by Agencia de Cooperación Alemana, 80 percent of the diving and snorkeling activities in Cozumel are carried out within the Protected Natural Area which receives approximately 1.8 million visitors per year.

Hernández Hernández says they will evaluate the area again in November and decide then if that section of park will be reopened in January or indefinitely closed. She reminds tourists that there are 11 other sites still open for diving and other aquatic activities in the park.