After the partial closure was announced earlier this week, the spotlight is firmly on the Coral reefs in Cozumel. So, I wanted to take some time to focus on the issues we are facing, not just on the reefs in Cozumel, but around the world.
UPDATE: It has now been announced that southern part of The Marine Park we reopen on the 15th December 2019
Because this isn’t an issue affecting only Cozumel, it really is a global issue.
Why our reefs are in trouble, and what’s causing Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease
If you are wondering why the reefs are dying, it’s not just one thing, it’s a collection of many things including:
Stony Coral Tissue Loss (SCTL)
Which we still don’t know the cause of, but we do know that wastewater runoff, fertilizers, the massive arrival of sargassum, the destruction of mangroves, and even sunscreen are contributing factors. Stony Coral Tissue Loss is often mistaken for coral bleaching, but they are very different things.
Pollution and Plastics
They aren’t just harming marine life, they are also amongst the many offenders that are harming the coral reefs around the world. As our water becomes more polluted we are seeing more and more side effects such as the increase in sargassum (especially on the coast of the mainland here in Mexico from Cancun all the way along the peninsula).
This is caused by rising sea temperatures and irresponsible tourism (people touching the reefs or breaking off pieces to take home as mementos).
Why has the Marine Park in Cozumel partially closed
We actually wrote a detailed post on that earlier this week, you can read here. But in short the Cozumel National Marine park partial closure is a measure to try and do several things:
- Give the reef a 3-month break to allow it some time to rest and recuperate.
- Help combat Illegal diving and fishing in the area.
- Check the properties along the coast of Cozumel for proper wastewater management.
- To properly charge dive operations for wristbands.
- We hope that this closure and the media attention it has received will be a catalyst that triggers people into action.
What can you do and how you can help?
There isn’t one thing that is going to help save the reefs, but there are lots of small ways that you can do your bit to help. Here are just a few:
- Not wear sunscreen and buy a rashguard
- Don’t touch the reef. Even if you are taking a photo, you don’t touch anything.
- Watch your fin kicks. Be careful! Watch your tank when you’re going through a swim through.
- Donate to a good cause like Cozumel Coral Reef Restoration Project
- Stay in accommodations that aren’t in the marine park. Unless you’re sure they manage their wastewater appropriately.
- Come dive in Cozumel.
What is ScubaTony going to do while the Marine Park is partially closed
Firstly we donate money to CCRRP. So far this year ScubaTony and our guests have donated $2000, and we encourage you to donate what you can. Every donation goes a long way, and it all adds up. Your donations go towards helping these guys with their restoration programs and research.
In addition, you can count on us to continue to share information about what is happening here in Cozumel.
If you want to make sure you don’t miss an update then you can subscribe to our newsletter and give us a like on Facebook as we are very active in sharing news on there.
Here at ScubaTony, we are determined to stay positive during the closure and as far as we are concerned, it’s business as usual. Over the next 3 months, we are looking forward to going to explore some new dive sites and have a lot of fun with our divers.