Mangroves and Sea Turtles Threatened, Riviera Maya
The waves of Hurricane DEAN hammered the pristine coastline of Quintana Roo starting at aprox. 5:00 PM Aug. 20, to aprox. 8:00 AM August 21. This monster storm packed more intense storm force for us here in the Akumal area then we had in 2005 with both Hurricanes Emily and Wilma. We will use as an illustration the violation of the FMZ, Federal Maritimo Zone’s set back rules by the hotel Bahia Principe from Spain, located on the beach of Aventuras Akumal, 100 km. south of the city of Cancun, on the most south of the 3 beaches that make up the Akumal area (Half Moon Bay, Akumal Bay, and Aventuras Akumal Bay). Aventuras Akumal beach is the second most popular turtle laying beach on the Yucatan coastline, right after the very famous Xcacel/Xcacelito with nests of loggerheads and greens turtles, both on the world’s endangered species list. We have seen already the decline of the loggerhead nests these past few years caused by something, we can only imagine that it is the addition of tourist activities, lights on at night, construction on the beach buffer zone, etc.
The FMZ beach zone is an area of vegetation bordering the body of water that we know as the Caribe. It states that there is to be 20 meters starting from the high level wave mark left untouched and belonging to the public.
Also I would like to state that with the oncoming monster hurricanes, the empty beach zones (as is the law) will help us citizens that live next to the beach not have the neighboring hotel’s palapa/swinging beds/beach furniture crashing against our homes.
In Cuba this area is by law over 50 meters, here in Mexico it is only 20 meters, when in Costa Rica it must be over the 200 meter mark.
They are important for our protection, THEY ARE THE LAW.
By Rob Nelson
After hurricane Emily and Wilma the Hotel Gran Bahia Principe Akumal declared sections of mangrove destroyed in square shapes, this was unbelievable after hurricane Dean we were concerned about what would follow.
The Caribbean sea retreated and an unusual amount of turtles made tracks along the whole of the Aventuras Akumal Beach, we managed to save turtles and nests amongst trucks and heavy machinery. Disguised as a clean up operation the construction of the Gran Bahia Principe’s new beach included hundreds of tonnes of sascab (the raw cement ingredient) This was imported from the current golf project and deposited on top and all over a fragile natural environment.
When filming the after math of the hurricane and the abundance of new turtle nests we were ordered by security members to leave the ‘ZONA FEDERAL’ an area of no ownership Juan Pablo Montoya and myself members Society of Akumals’s Vital ecology (S.A.V.E) gathered litter bags and juvenile turtle and saved what we could.
After 2 day’s of litter collecting, turtle saving, nest marking and now environmental concern security and management became extremely hostile.
On day 3 we approached the same area and the security and management prevented Juan Pablo Montoya and myself from walking well within the Zona Federal this resulted in actions by a group of Gran Bahia Principe representatives that caused injuries to my head, elbow, ankle.
Fortunately I have everything on video including the turtles, dumping of sascab & the assault.
Akumal in Mayan means ‘home of the turtle.’
Submitted by: Nancy DeRosa