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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of June 29, 2015

Beginning in December 2002, Insider was proudly the first website to provide readers the Cozumel News in English.

Articles are slected from local newspapers which we feel will be of interest to our diverse audience. These articles are then translated into English. We cannot always investigate the veracity of a particular article but offer these translations as a reflection of the Cozumel community news just as reporters write it for Por Esto, Diario de Quintana Roo, Novedades and El Seminario and many other sources.

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Note: All translated articles are the property of Cozumel Insider and cannot be used, displayed or reproduced without express written permission from Cozumel Insider.

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Cozumel Arrivals: 16 Ships this Week
6/28 - Numbers remain low this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals show 16 ships registered to dock for the final week of June 2015. This is 3 more than the number of ships last week and 4 less than the "20 in port" which marks a "high season." With low season underway, an estimated 48,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ships leaving an estimated US$ 3.8 million dollars behind in the local economy.

High season for cruise ship arrivals typically runs from November 15 - April 15 each year with the remaining 7 months of the year considered "low season."

This week Puerta Maya pier will be the big economic winner as 11 ships dock there, only 3 ships will dock at TMM/SSA International pier while Punta Langosta pier will see 2 arrivals and the downtown San Miguel pier will have -0- arrivals with passengers tendering in.

This week begins with 3 shipw docking on Monday, 3 on Tuesday, 2 ships Wednesday, 2 on Thursday, 2 on Friday and then Saturday will bring 4 ships in port and Sunday will see -0- ships in port.

View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week
Black Coral Crafts Exhibit Coming to Cozumel
“State competitions of black coral crafts are in preparation and will be held in Cozumel during the month of August with the participation of local artists from several municipalities of Quintana Roo, as well as some guests that will represent the States of Yucatan, Campeche, Chiapas, Tabasco and Veracruz", said David Calderon Uc, leader of the Union of Craftsmen of Black Coral from Cozumel.

The interviewee said that as each year in the past, the state-wide competition will be held in the newly remodeled Park "Benito Juárez". This is the ideal scenario now that it has a new image, so the scope will be greater in terms of the number of people who can see all the art that will be displayed. He said that the black coral crafts competition serves for artists to reach the island and market their products directly to tourists, without intermediaries, and accordingly, with earnings that will benefit them exclusively in their places of origin. He said that now with the new look of the Park "Benito Juárez" there will be more space for artisans to exhibit their pieces, which are requested by crafts stores or tourists passing by as they are offered to the public.

David Calderon Uc said that Cozumel is the place where black coral artisans prefer to participate, since it is a must for tourists, by which each participant takes advantage of selling their artwork. He also mentioned that this competition has been made in other municipalities such as Cancun or Playa Del Carmen but it has not had the same response as they have had in Cozumel.
Tourism, Major Cause of Mangrove Loss
In the last 12 years, more than one thousand hectares of mangrove in the coastal area of Mahahual and Xcalak Quintana Roo, Mexico have been lost as a result of the construction of settlements and roads, according to a multi-temporal analysis using imaging satellite Landsat TM and ETM, by researchers at the Colegio de la Frontera Sur (Ecosur).

The analysis of the images showed that 1,070 hectares of mangrove forest have been lost, with an annual rate of deforestation of 0.85%. This rate is relatively high in comparison with other regions of Mexico. "We need to get accurate information for assessing local and regional changes in the area, and thus detect the magnitude, trends, and agents of transformation of the mangrove" stated Hayde Lopez Adame, researcher at Ecosur Chetumal. She also pointed out that Mexico is among the countries with a higher degree of deforestation of mangroves in America, however, lack of accurate data of national coverage of mangrove makes it impossible to estimate accurately the rate of loss of mangrove over the passage of time.

"Weather events are also a major cause as in the case of hurricanes and tropical storms and although over time there has been a program of reforestation of mangroves in the area, in a natural way, we have seen a gradual recovery."
Hotels Threaten the Preservation of Coasts and Beaches
“Due to the construction of resorts, protective structures and dams, the Mexican beaches may disappear in the long run” warned a researcher at the Institute of Ecology (Inecol), Patricia Moreno-Casasola Barceló. The specialist said that the beaches are located just on the edge between four major systems: the sea, atmosphere, land, and fresh water. The coastline is the only place in which these four systems come together. And it’s not only these complexes that affect beaches, dams also wreak havoc due to the fact that sand coming from the rocks disintegrates rivers and this causes the beaches to have different types of sand.

In the case of resorts, the specialist explains that those hotels located near the shore, in areas where there is still impact during storm surges of waves, the structure creates a barrier that causes erosion. Moreno-Casasola Barcelo said that erosion on beaches implies the elimination of the ecosystem; in addition, environmental services and the possibility of a sustainable tourist development are lost. "The main environmental service of these is the protection of the coastal zone, which we would lose if there are no beaches. This can also create the disappearance of habitats of many plants and animals that are important," she warned.

The most vulnerable areas in Mexico are Tabasco, Central Veracruz, North of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, since areas of beaches are lower in the Gulf and Caribbean. In the case of Cancun and the Riviera Maya, the specialist said that we can last about five to six years before the damage becomes un-repairable. The only solution, according to the researcher, is a regulation for the construction in these areas, through good planning in a sustainable development. This could be achieved a balance and a rescue of the ecosystem.
Please Don't Eat Shark
Saving Our Sharks (SOS), the organization that promotes the protection of marine species, invites the public to not eat shark since despite not being a protected species, their conservation is vital to the ecological balance in the seas.

Local supermarket chain, Chedraui, was the first to comply with this request. Chedraui’s commitment is to stop marketing shark. José Urbina, also a member of the Organization will be approaching other grocery stores that have a presence in the State to join this initiative. "The consequence of removing sharks from the oceans is that it puts a halt to the ecosystem. We want people to know the important thing is to not eat the shark, which is not protected except for three species, the whale shark, great white shark and thresher shark, but the others are not “ stated the official.

Urbina said that they will also plan strategies for a reduction in fishing and consumption of grouper, a species which contains the overpopulation of the lionfish, the only natural predators of the lionfish in their place of origin (Indian Ocean), although here we have evidence that that it is happening here also.

Lombardo Sifuentes stressed that the sharks that are present in the Mexican Caribbean can be removed by Humberto Anduce, the only fisherman who has permission of federal authorities and already collaborates with SOS.
In Defense of the Shark
The Association “Friends of Sian Ka'an” signed an alliance with the One Ocean Diving and Water Inspired associations in order to promote the conservation of water and defend sharks in the State and the world.

Both associations are chaired by Ocean Ramsey, a Hawaiian conservationist, who has dedicated his life to preserving the seas through the design of programs of research and education in different countries. "The intention is to raise awareness of how relevant it is to preserve the seas and freshwater, as well as all marine predators," said Gonzalo Merediz Alonso, executive director of friends of Sian Ka'an. Through this Alliance and the campaign entitled "Water is Life", it will be possible to position global programs developed by the Mexican Association in Quintana Roo, at the same time seeking to exchange experiences on strategies that also play in Hawaii. The first step is to expand the monitoring of sharks and corals
Excessive Seaweed Causes Allergic Reaction
In the last few weeks, 33 tourists have been treated for allergic skin reactions when they swim at the beaches in the area where a lot of seaweed/ sargasso has been collecting, reported local lifeguards in Playa Del Carmen.

The ‘Anzio Sargassum’ in the coastal area has not only has caused complaints from vacationers by the poor image and unpleasant smell that it brings, but also for damage to health. "Swimmers can get itchy and others swell. We have had to serve them by wiping them down or send them elsewhere so that they can receive medical care." In only a few days I have attended 10 in my area of surveillance, but my colleagues have seen more," said Higinio Vinagre Carrillo, a lifeguard from the area.

"In reference to the 33 reports in recent weeks, the issue could be a result of sand fleas which collect on the kelp.
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December 24, 2014 (Most Recent) Comprehensive Mexico Travel Warning
Because we are continually asked about travel safety in Mexico and Cozumel, INSIDER always maintains the most recent, complete version of the U.S. State Department Mexico Travel Warning HERE on our website for traveler convenience.

The good news continues to be that there are currently no regional security warnings in place that cover Quintana Roo, Cancun, Cozumel or Costa Maya so make vacation plans now to get here for some fun in the sun!

The Mexico Travel Warning dated December 24, 2014 from the Department of State can also be viewed in its entirety on the Department of State website.

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