The government has temporarily closed the Islas Marietas archipelago off the coast of Nayarit in an effort to prevent damage to wildlife in the region.
The islands are home to 115 species of fish and 10 different types of coral, and make up the Marieta Islands National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Yet According to Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp), wildlife on the islands is at risk. According to the organization, the site has “presented serious signs of degradation in its marine ecosystems. This threatens its biodiversity, its attractive scenic beauty and its sustainable development.”
Part of the problem facing the islands is their popularity with tourists. This Easter vacation, authorities registered 27,000 visitors in two weeks. Travelers to the area often leave litter and take away sections of coral.
To combat this, Conanp aims to develop a program to bolster environmental awareness among visitors. The organization will also start its extensive cleanup operation, which will involve restoring sections of coral, as well as cleaning the beach and the sea bed.