Akumal, Q.R. – Akumal Bay has officially been decreed a marine refuge for protected species. The news was made official via a Centro Ecologico Akumal press release.
Centro Ecologico Akumal’s director, Hector Lizarraga-Cubedo commented on today’s announcement, “This is great news for the future of Akumal. At last there is formal recognition that the vulnerable species and ecosystems that make Akumal Bay unique need to be and will be protected and preserved.”
The decree, available online in Spanish, outlines the specific refuge area and the species to be protected, including three species of sea turtles, four species of corals, three species of mangroves and three species of seagrass.
The refuge has been a long time in the making. In fact, CEA first submitted a formal proposal for the decree of a Turtle Refuge to SEMARNAT offering technical and scientific support for the protection of Akumal Bay in 2008.
“This took time and concerted effort on the part of CEA, the landowners, businesses and the community to see this decree a reality. In addition we can’t forget the key work of SEMARNAT Minister Rafael Pacchiano Alaman and the delegate in Quintana Roo, Jose Luis Funes Izaguirre who pushed this decree forward,” added Lizarraga-Cubedo.
Now that the decree is official, it is expected that SEMARNAT, in coordination with CONANP, will call out to the various local actors including those from Akumal and Quintana Roo, to form a working group that will focus on the elaboration of a management plan as well as to aid in the operation and administration of the refuge.
Centro Ecológico Akumal is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping create a model for sustainable tourism development in the Mexican Caribbean through research, education and outreach.