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Temporary Closure of the Southern Section of Cozumel Marine Park

If you are reading this, then you will likely have already heard some talk about the partial Cozumel Marine Park closure and want to know more. In this post, I wanted to address the closure of dive sites in Cozumel and clear up some of the rumors.

Cozumel Marine Park Closure

On Monday, September 23rd the Marine Park of Cozumel announced that they are closing the Southern part of the Marine Park from October 7th until an unknown date and time. Although it has been mentioned that it could reopen as soon as the end of the year. Over the course of the weekend, rumors have run wild and speculations and opinions have spread over social media.

UPDATE: The marine park has been reopened for scuba diving. The only part of the park still closed is the popular snorkeling area known as El Cielo. 

The fact is that at the end of 2018, Cozumel’s coral reefs have seen a huge decline. The reef has been infected by a disease called Stony Coral Tissue Loss, SCTL. Not to be confused with coral bleaching (something entirely different). This suspected bacterial infection rapidly spreads killing many species of hard coral such as brain coral and flower coral being the first to go. The first sighting of it was in the Miami area in 2014.

The Cozumel Marine Park has acknowledged that cruise ships and the mismanagement of waste at coastal hotels along the marine park are amongst the issues that fuel the spread of the disease. The closing part of the marine park to divers is going to create awareness of the problems that the reefs in Cozumel are now facing.

The Good News

The good news for divers coming to Cozumel at the end of 2019 is that there are plenty of good dive sites to dive outside of the closed areas and they are the ones richest in marine life.

Some of the sites that are not affected by the Cozumel Marine park closure are:

  • La Francesa
  • Dalila
  • Cedral
  • Santa Rosa Wall
  • San Francisco
  • Punta Tunich
  • Yucab
  • Tormentos
  • C53 wreck dive
  • Paradise reef

Book your next dive with ScubaTony today

Which Dive Sites Will be Closed in Cozumel

The dive sites that will be closed in Cozumel are all dive sites from the Palancar pier, South.

This includes; all of the Palancar dive sites, Colombia, Punta Sur, El Cielo, and Maracaibo.

When will the Cozumel Dive Sites Close

The date of the official closure will be October 7th, 2019. From this date forward The Navy will have 2 boats enforcing the closure in these areas until they announce a reopening of these sites.

Final Thoughts

They have had multiple meetings announcing the details of the closure that were filled with unhappy tour operators that are concerned about the backlash and economic impacts that the closure will have and the future of the state of Cozumel’s coral reefs.

The outcry from many marine park permit holders is to have a PROFEPA office in Cozumel that can police the marine park and keep out the many illegal dive and snorkel operators as well as illegal fishing that occurs daily within the marine park.

We look forward to this action eliminating some of the issues that surround Cozumel’s coral reefs allowing some time for our wildlife to recover.

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Jeff Merkel

    Thank you for posting this. I hope it helps, and even if it doesn’t I’m happy to see an effort being made to remedy the problem.

    1. Adam Duffy

      Hi Jeff, thank you for reading and a bigger thank you if you shared it. We are being positive. We hope that many good things will come our way because of this. It’s received a lot of attention.

  2. Rosatad

    Why didn’t they provide a few weeks lead time for the closures? We arrive in Coz with our group on October 6th. ;-(

    1. Adam Duffy

      I’m sure that it is not convenient for you. There are plenty of marine life rich dive sites to choose from while you’re here. I think they had a difficult decision to make and they either needed to close it during the slow season or high season.

  3. Brandon Martin

    That’s sad to hear about the closure and the condition of the reef. I’m glad to hear that you have some good dive spots still available. How is the kayaking in Cozumel?

    1. Adam Duffy

      Hi Brandon.

      I am not sure about the kayaking. The water is clear and calm so that’s a benefit. I just don’t know a lot of people that kayak. I am sure it’s happening.

  4. Gary Cannon

    I am leading a dive group to Cozumel 18-28 October and while it will be disappointing to not be able to dive some of my favorite dive sites, I understand the issue and the reason for the closures and fully support it. My question is whether anything is being done to better manage the waste from coastal hotels and the effects of cruise ships?

  5. Mike Welch

    So the Mexican Government has admitted that Cruise ships are to blame as well as the big resorts, but yet they want to build another Cruise ship pier yeah that make a lot of sense. Lets build another pier so we can destroy more reef.

  6. Becky Grunow

    Really informative article. thanks!

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