|Cozumel Reef Update 2020|
|Following the closure of portions of Cozumel’s southern reefs in late 2019, we would like to update you on their status in 2020. Please refer to the included map for the locations of specific dive sites. |
From December 15, 2019 to March 31, 2020, scuba diving and snorkeling will be allowed from Palancar to Colombia. El Cielo, a beach snorkeling site, will continue to be closed to divers and snorkelers until March 31, 2020. From August to September of 2020, during the period of coral spawning, the government will close the area from Colombia reef to Bricks and the Cuevones sites, i.e. the big cave sites, of the Palancar reef system.
The government has chosen to close El Cielo for a longer duration because it serves as a hatchery area to the surrounding reefs. A continued period of closure for El Cielo should ensure an improvement in the water quality at the site and promote the health of its reef. An improvement of El Cielo should have benefits to the surrounding dive sites.
Starting April 1, 2020, the government will initiate a rotation program that will close individual sites for periods of time to promote the same healing of the reefs that should occur at El Cielo. Both the Conanp advisory council and the tourist sub-council will agree upon the sites and dates of the rotating closures.
Studies of the reef systems will continue in 2020.
The government will also be increasing its monitoring of dive and snorkeling boats to ensure that only permit holders are allowed in the area. They have also created a new flag system under which permit holders must make visible a government issued flag that displays the vessel’s individual permit number.
The illness afflicting the reefs in southern Cozumel is called White Band Disease. White band disease was first seen in the area Quintana Roo in 2018 and has spread throughout the reefs of Mesoamerica. Poor water quality from a lack of drainage and the presence of excessive nutrients from the decomposition of sargassum has promoted the spread of the disease in the area.
Sunblock that is not reef friendly has also made the reefs more susceptible to this disease. For this reason, Frank’s has only been selling a brand of reef safe sunscreen for over 20 years.
We hope that this information has been helpful to you. Frank’s, as we have for over 40 years, will continue to travel to Cozumel in 2020 to experience its wonderful diving and to support the extraordinary dive masters whose livelihoods depend on the health of the reefs and are leading the way in caring for them and encouraging us all to be conscious stewards of Cozumel and all the oceans of the world in 2020.