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A Journey Into Paradise

The Conservation of the Mesoamerican Barrier System

12 January, 2015

In 1960 Jacques
Cousteau brought the reefs off the southern tip of Cozumel,called the Palancar
Reef,to world recognition as one of the best scuba diving in the world. The Palancar reef is a portion of the
much larger barrier reef system called the Mesoamerican Reef. It extends from the northern tip of the
Yucatan peninsula traveling alongside four countries: Mexico,Belize,
Guatemala,and Honduras designating t as the second largest barrier reef n the
world,second only to the Great Barrier Reef located in Australia.

The reef system is
credited to be home to more than 500 species of fish,300 species of mollusks,and
65 species of stony coral.  Many
have been placed on the endangered species list such as various sea turtles
specimens.

A recent warning was
issued by the director of The Program for Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL),Rick
Mcpherson,“without conservation efforts the Mesoamerican reef will disappear
completely from the planet within the next 50 years.”  He added,“we are not speaking of one specie,but the
complete extinction of the whole ecosystem.”

CORAL is a worldwide
organization,which dedicates itself to the conservation and protection of the world´s
coral reef ecosystems,has prioritized the efforts being focused on the
Mesoamerican Reef due in large part to the massive tourist crowds that visit
the area yearly.  Along with the
tourist explosion is the pollution of runoff waters from population growths,as
well as hurricanes that have been increasing in numbers over recent years.  The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) has
also placed the region as a priority on their list,making their presence felt
in such ways as construction density limits,strict eco-friendly sewage
treatment plants,and limitations of tourist interaction with the reefs.

All the supervision has at times held up development in this part of
paradise,but takes gigantic strides to ensuring that The Mesoamerican Reef
will keep its pristine beauty for many Jacque Cousteau’s of the future.

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