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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of November 30, 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: 28 Ships this Week
11/29 - Numbers increase this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals show 28 ships registered to dock for the fourth week of November 2015. This is 3 more than the number of ships last week and 8 more than the "20 in port" which marks a "high season" number. As the high season now gets underway, an estimated 84,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ships leaving an estimated US$ 6.7 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 16 ships dock there, 4 ships will dock at TMM/SSA International pier while Punta Langosta pier will see 8 arrivals and the downtown San Miguel pier will have -0- arrivals with passengers tendering in.

This week begins with 5 ships docking on Monday, 5 on Tuesday, 5 ships Wednesday, 4 on Thursday, 6 on Friday and then Saturday will bring 3 ships in port and Sunday will see -0- ships in port.

View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week
Department of Ecology Builds Shelters for Rescued Animals
The Directorate of Ecology and Environment has constructed shelters within the grounds of the National Parks areas for animals that have been rescued. The newest guest is a baby spider monkey, who was separated from its mother after his captors killed her.

According to Rafael Chacón Díaz, Director of Ecology and Environment, the amount of species of fauna that has arrived has begun to represent a problem. He explained that the animals need space to be able to recover from their injuries or illnesses, and it seems that the City Council has made an effort to provide the equipment needed to construct fenced in enclosures measuring 4 by 4 meters. The official stated that these fenced in areas allow the circulation of air, sun and the natural surroundings of the Park's ambiance. He added that the plan is to have several of these areas and to have one for each type of animal that arrives at the Park.

Since September, there have been 9 iguanas, 24 snakes of various species, including 14 boas, a raccoon, a coati, 12 crocodiles, 25 birds of various types and 2 spider monkeys rescued.
Cozumel Recycles Used Tires
Approximately 550 tons of tires have been withdrawn from Cozumel since the year 2011 when the recycling program kicked off. Last week, the staff of the ‘Collection of Recyclable Materials (Camar) Center’ loaded a truck with 60 tons of tires which were sent to the State of Tabasco to the treatment plant.

Adeb Zapata Silva Camar, Operating Coordinator said that the removal of these used tires is important from two aspects: health and ecology. Tires abandoned in courtyards or vacant lots in the city can collect water that serves as a nursery for the mosquito, a transmitter of dengue and chikungunya. In the second aspect, the official said that a wheel takes many years to degrade and that to be abandoned in vacant lots, highways and even in the beach area, pollute and cause severe damage to the ecosystems. A tire is mainly composed of elastomeric rubber, steel and textile fiber and the amount of these materials depend on the type of vehicle that will be used.

The official explained that last calculation of collection of tires is up to 15 tons per month. He called on the population of the city to bring this waste to the recycling center facilities, located on First Street between Avenues 135 and Félix González Canto.
Feeding Marine Species is Prohibited
It has been alleged that the malpractices of nautical service providers by encouraging tourists to feed fish to sharks in the Southern part of the Island, maintains the risk that attacks could be possible but that does not mean that the waters of the island are unsafe.

The director of the National Marine Park “Reefs of Cozumel", Christopher González Baca, said that it has been asked of all providers of aquatic services, to not encourage the feeding of fish to the sharks where they gather the most. The biologist commented that many people irresponsibly tend to feed these species despite the risk this possesses. It was especially pointed out to the tour operators that they encourage this activity among the visitors despite it being prohibited by the Marine Park management plan. It was also mentioned that 3 nautical workers who engaging in this practice have been sanctioned due to the fact that it is highly prohibited since the species that are within the Marine Park are protected and therefore they should not be fed, captured or touched by divers.

Gonzalez Baca said that they will maintain surveillance in the protected area so that attacks will not occur.
Ban on Conch Capture is Not Working
It is estimated that there are over 100 poacher fishermen who are still capturing the Pink Conch species illegally. This is continuing to damage the amount of that species that still exists.

The Fishing Cooperative Society stands firm in its decision on continuing the closing of the capture of conch since the species has not had the expected recovery up until now due to fishermen who are still removing the snail. The President of the Cooperative Society of Fisheries in Cozumel, Eduardo Pérez Catzín, assured that the moratorium of removing the snail has contributed to the recovery of the species; however there is still much work to do to assure that the recovery is much greater. It is necessary to mention that for nearly a decade the Cooperative Society decided to restrict fishing as well as a way to protect the species, however, after several years into this restriction, the results are still not at all flattering. Perez Catzin said that "the problem occurs with free fishermen who total more than 100 boats and where there is no recorded capture of the snail.

It is important to pay more attention to the serious problem of illegal extraction of the snail since the effort that is underway through the Cooperative Society seems to not be functioning as well as it should.
Caves of Quintana Roo Contain Unique Species
More than 1,000 kilometers of underground rivers and caves registered in Quintana Roo have animal species unique in the world and others that had been considered extinct. This is one of the reasons why spelunkers spread the importance of this ecosystem, at the same time seeking people who care for them and the authorities to monitor their protection.

"One of the species that live only in caves of Quintana Roo is the white fish or White Lady measuring just 10 centimeters. This fish is blind, smells their prey and lives in fresh water. It is one of the larger caves predators in these waters, “explained Roberto Rojo, caver and member of the Speleological Circle of the Mayab. Besides fish, it is possible to find spiders, such as the ricinulidos, which have had little investigation so far like the blind isopods.

The species that still lives in the region of Quintana Roo and that is considered important, even at the global level is the remipedo. "It was thought that this bug had already been extinct. It has been identified there since before the dinosaurs", stated Roberto Rojo. Bats also are part of the biodiversity that exist in the caves .When they defecate or die and their bodies are inside, they serve as food for other organisms, and therefore are part of the chain of life that is unleashed in the area.

The Yucatan Peninsula is characterized by having soil formed by limestone, a condition that allows the formation of caves. The world's longest cave is located in Tulum, with more than 1,500 kilometers and it connects together with a cave located in Oaxaca, which is more than 500 meters deep.

More than a quarter of the world's population has water coming from caves, but there are projections that indicate that more than 80% of the population will depend on this water resource in the future after the water of rivers and lakes become contaminated.
Underwater Animal Remains, a Booming Attraction
The discovery of fossils of mammoths and other prehistoric animals in an aquatic cemetery in the world's largest network of underground rivers, has tripled the number of tourists in 2015 who enjoy cave diving, stated the President of the Comisariado Ejidal Ejido Jacinto Pat, Eleazar Maas Kinil. The daily average of visitors who practice cenote and cave diving is just over 120. Statistics show that 93% of tourists from Europe and the United States will return to dive the world's largest underground river.

Employers engaged in the field of aquatic and subaquatic activities ensure that by this discovery in the caves, the region is now presented as a considerable choice for work, along with promoting tourism. "Cenotes that are located in the Riviera Maya generate more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs, with young adults seeking employment primarily from different locations in the southeast and center of the country," stated the official.

The place where the prehistoric remains were found form part of one of the longest systems of flooded caves and underground rivers in the world, up to 150 kilometers, commented explorers of this system of cenotes. Replicas of the underwater findings from the rivers are on display in the first “Museum of the Peninsula”.
Our Oeans Lack Oxygen
This summer, experts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), initiated a study to learn about the health of the four major Marine Ecosystems (GEM) of Mexico. They reported that one of the big problems is hypoxia (lack of oxygen), or dead zone of the four GEM, however, it is in the Gulf of Mexico (2nd largest dead zone on the world) where the greater presence of this damage has been detected and what could possible result in various species becoming ill and dying. Worldwide we have records of more than 550 dead zones, commented the officials.

"Algae blooms occur in the South of the Gulf of Mexico influenced by excess nutrients in the water which generates lack of oxygen in the sea and means marine involvement in the population, and a great loss for tourism and fishing”, said Emily Kislik, researcher at NASA. There are about 13,000 square kilometers of water with low oxygen, and it is caused by nutrients from the surf of the Gulf waters. This results in the proliferation of algae that absorb oxygen. According to specialists, these nutrients come from human activities, such as agriculture and wastewater which end up in rivers and flow into the sea.

“80% of the pollution of the oceans is due to what comes from the Earth and only 20% is a result of navigation”, said Norma Patricia Muñoz Sevilla, researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Research and Studies on Environment and Development (Ciiemad).
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May 5, 2015 (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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