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Protecting Cozumel’s Reefs

The Cozumel National Park authorities announced that they are closing Palancar, Colombia and Cielo reefs to visitors from October 7 for several months. This is being done to give the coral reefs a breathing space to recover from visitor pressure and to help them recover from Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. The reefs will be constantly monitored and a report on their health prepared next year.

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease was first detected on Florida reefs and is spreading through the Caribbean attacking 20 to 30 species of stony coral, including reef-building species such as elk horn and stag horn and brain and pillar coral. It is thought that rising sea temperatures, excessive algae and pollutants such as the chemicals in sun products and gasoline from boats could be contributing factors weakening the corals and making them vulnerable to the pathogen.

Divers and snorkelers who wish to go to Cozumel can still visit the many beautiful coral reefs in other parts of the national marine park.

Whenever you swim, dive or snorkel in the Mexican Caribbean, rinse before you enter the water. Wearing a t-shirt to protect your skin from the sun instead of applying sunscreen helps protect the corals and marine life.

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