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Two of 3 Cozumel reef areas reopening for tourism

Cozumel, Q.R. — The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas says that as of Sunday, two reef areas on the south side of the island will be reopened for tourist service providers.

La Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (Conanp) says that the reef areas of Palancar and Colombia will be reopened, but with conditions for service providers. Brenda Hernández Hernández, head of Conanp Cozumel, announced the partial reopening of two of the three reef areas that had been closed as a measure of protection against the advancement of white syndrome.

Hernández noted that the reef area of El Cielo, one of the most popular, will remain closed until March.

She explained that they do not want to have these reef areas return to the state they were in before, adding that beginning April, there will be a rotation of reef areas open for diving in order to allow the reefs to recuperate. She says there will be a calendar of which reefs are open and when, adding that the dates will be agreed upon by the Conanp advisory council and the tourist sub-council.

In a statement, Conanp says “For August and September 2020, we will return to the suspension of aquatic-recreational activities in the Colombia reef and the sites of Ladrillos and Cuevones of the Palancar reef system including El Cielo. This suspension is based on the season of sexual reproduction of corals that occurs at this time of the year.”

Hernández says that in exchange for federal authorities agreeing to the reopening of Palancar and Colombia, tourism service providers agreed to join a program to improve sustainable practices.