Photo by Aquarella Images
On September 17th, the Cozumel Marine Park Advisory Council elected to temporarily close the southern dive sites on the island of Cozumel from Playa Palancar to Punta Chiqueros, including el Cielo, from October 7th 2019 through at least this coming December. This action was taken in response to the fact that, since 2018, the Caribbean and Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System has been suffering from a disease called Stony Coral Tissue Loss (SCTS) that needs to be studied and further understood. This suspected bacterial infection was originally discovered off of Miami in 2014 and threatens many species of hard coral including brain coral and flower coral.
The good news is that Cozumel has much to offer underwater: fully 11 out of the 14 dive sites, as well as snorkeling sites, we frequent in the marine park remain open to us. So while we’re adapting to the need to give these specific reefs a rest by introducing tours to less-known sites and staggering our departure times, it’s otherwise business as usual for us. Furthermore, we are optimistic that the increased scrutiny and focus on conservation will ultimately reduce the number of illegal dive operators and fishermen who invade the Marine Park, and will also result in new, better rules and regulations to protect the reef system in the future.
Dive Paradise prides itself on being a leader in responsible, sustainable practices, and is active in local efforts to protect Cozumel’s beloved reef system. We support the effort to protect and study this and other issues that threaten the local environment, and we want you to know that the diving in Cozumel remains abundant and amazing! Rest assured that Dive Paradise will continue to provide its legendary, personalized service while we work closely with the Marine Park and other government authorities, as well as academic institutions and non-profit organizations, to support underwater conservation, awareness and study.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us directly.
Michael Penwarden, CEO
Laura Alcalá Ortega, General Manager