Sea Turtle Refuge in Akumal Quintana Roo, Mexico
They use the beaches, grasslands, and reefs as nesting sites, feeding, breeding, and growing areas.
gets its name from these phenomena “The Place of Turtles” in Maya. Sustainable use of our natural resources is one of our main challenges in Akumal. We are working to increase environmental awareness in the community, of the importance of habitat and species protection, and wise use. Our main goal is the conservation of the coastal marine ecosystems and the species that inhabit them, especially the sea turtles. Therefore, it is necessary to establish official protection on Akumal’s marine environment.Centro Ecológico Akumal (CEA), with the Akumal Development Council, local hotels and businesses and marine tourism operators, the National Protected Areas Commission (CONANP) and the Port Captain, along with the support of the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA), has worked over the past several years to develop a local management program for the bays, and has recently initiated a process with the Wildlife Agency of the Ministry of the Environment to establish a Sea Turtle Refuge in Akumal, co-managed with the community, through its local environmental organization – Centro Ecológico Akumal.
To be a success, this initiative will require improved public awareness-raising, coordination of local committees to manage each of the bays making up Akumal, as well as cooperation and participation from everyone. Through both the management program and an established sea turtle refuge, we will be much closer to ensuring the economic and environmental future of Akumal.
In Mexico, the use and possession of sea turtles are prohibited by law, under the endangered species laws and there is no program that permits the extractive use of turtles regularly. Any removal of the species must be justified and only with official permission. In 1994, sea turtles were placed under special protection status as a species at risk of extinction. For more than two decades, the protection measures have been focused on activities related to the turtles’ reproductive cycle, particularly with nesting sites.
Sea Turtle Protection Program
In 1993, CEA began its conservation activities and operates its sea turtle protection program through permission from the Wildlife Agency, focusing on protecting the nesting populations of loggerhead and green turtle. This has included research on nesting and hatchling information.
The average number of nests in Akumal, from seven years of data, is at least 180 per season, demonstrating the importance of this destination as a feeding, reproduction and breeding area.