Akumal Bay,which lies about an hour and a half south of Cancun in Mexico’s Riviera Maya,has officially been declared a marine refuge for protected species,according to a press release from Centro Ecologico Akumal (CEA).
“This is great news for the future of Akumal,” stated Hector Lizarraga-Cubedo,director of CEA. “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 is available online in Spanish and outlines the exact area that was designated for the new Akumal wildlife refuge,as well as the species that will be protected by the decree. This reportedly includes three different species of sea turtles,four different species of coral,three different species of mangroves and three species of seagrass.
A long time in the making,the refuge designation was first requested by CEA in 2008,when the organization submitted a formal proposal to Mexico’s Secretary of Environmental and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). The proposal requested Akumal receive the formal decree of Sea Turtle Refuge and offered both scientific and technical support for the protection of Akumal Bay.
“This took time and concerted effort on the part of CEA,the landowners,businesses and the community to see this decree a reality,” shared Lizarraga-Cubedo. “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.”
Since the decree has been made official,SEMARNAT is expected to work with the Commission for Mexico’s Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) to develop a working group of individuals and organizations in Akumal and from throughout the state of Quintana Roo. Their focus will be on creating a management plan for the newly protected marine refuge and to help with the day-to-day operation and administration of the protected area.
Akumal is a true gem in the Riviera Maya,offering an ideal destination for both families and couples that is a far cry from the all-inclusive madness of Cancun (which admittedly has its own set of charms,but contrast is always nice). It’s also a favorite hidden getaway for savvy jet-setters,which gives Akumal a unique vibe of upscale chic meets down to earth.
“Here,water and nature reign supreme – from swimming with sea turtles to snorkeling the reefs and underwater caves to deep-sea and fly-fishing to scuba diving and turtle-hatching sojourns,” wrote The Dallas Morning News. “The nearby ruins at Tulum,Coba and Chichen Itza provide windows into the region’s rich Mayan past,and adventure parks like Hidden Worlds offer activities for kids of all ages.”
CEA is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping create a model for sustainable tourism development in the Riviera Maya and throughout the Mexican Caribbean,using a targeted combination of public education,community outreach and scientific research.
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