Cancún, Quintana Roo – Some 3,000 coral colonies were planted off the coast of Isla Mujeres as part of a program carried out by the Secretary of Ecology and Environment (SEMA) of Quintana Roo, designed to recover part of the second largest coral reef in the world.
The rescue project will last two years and will cost 12 million pesos, according to Alfredo Arellano Guillermo, head of SEMA, who explained that they are working with the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONAMP) and the National Institute of Presca (Inapesca) to grow new coral. In addition, they hope to partner with additional public and/or private organizations.
SEMA is attempting to compensate for the damage caused by coral bleaching in the Mexican Caribbean. The disease is caused by water pollution, although the origin of the pollution has not been determined.
According to studies of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, of Quintana Roo’s 400 kilometers of reef, 37% are in poor health and 13% are in critical health, a situation that affects the ecosystem and is getting worse due to coral bleaching.
“They are doing studies and we hope to find a remedy soon and take care of our coral so the new coral will not be affected,” said Arellano Guillermo.
The Mesoamerican reef stretches 1,000 kilometers along the coasts of Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico, and is the longest coral reef in the western hemisphere. The area includes diverse beaches and dunes, coastal wetlands, lagoons, mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs.