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Implementation of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) in Mexico

Technical Report · November 1997


DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.5071.9203

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COMMISSION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION

COOPERATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF COASTAL AND MARINE


ECOSYSTEMS

IMPLEMENTATION OF
THE INTERNATIONAL CORAL REEF INITIATIVE
(ICRI) IN MEXICO

Arq. Juan E. Bezaury Creel


M. en C. Rogelio Macías Ordoñez - Bibliographic Review
Biol. Gerardo García Beltrán
Biol. Gerardo Castillo Arenas
Biol. Natasha Pardo Caicedo
Biol. Roberto Ibarra Navarro
Geogr. Ángel Loreto Viruel

Advisors:
Biol. Rosa María Loreto Viruel
Biol. David Gutierrez Carbonell
M. en C. Mario Lara Pérez Soto
Dra. Claudia Padilla Souza

AMIGOS DE SIAN KA'AN A.C.


November 18, 1997

Implementation of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) in Mexico


Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C. / Commission for Environmental Cooperation
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Acknowledgements:

Martha I. Rosas - CEC


Fernando Gutiérrez - CEC
Thomas F. Hourigan Ph. D. - NOAA
Theresa Marsh - NOAA
Biol. Oscar Ramírez Flores - SEMARNAP INP
Biol. Amaya Bernárdez - SEMARNAP INE
Biol. Eugenia Lezcano Bustamante - SEMARNAP INE
Lic. José Carlos Tenorio Marañón - SEMARNAP INE
Biol. Javier Medina González - SEMARNAP INE
Biol. Dulce María Avila - SEMARNAP INE
Dra. Ella Vásquez - CONABIO
Dr. Juan Pablo Carricart-Ganivet - ECOSUR
M. en C. Guillermo Horta-Puga - ENEP I, UNAM
M. en C. Juan José Espejel-Montes - IPN
M. en C. Héctor Reyes-Bonilla - UABCS
Biol. Tito Livio Pérez - ICMLyL-UNAM
Biol. Gerardo Leyte Morales - Univ. del Mar
Lynne Hale - CRC-URI
Alessandra Vanzella - Khouri - PNUMA
Marea Hatziolos - World Bank
Yalina Saldivar - ASK

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IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL CORAL REEF


INITIATIVE (ICRI) IN MEXICO

1. Status of Information on Mexican Coral Reefs 10

1.1 Scientific Literature 11


1.1.1 Thematic 12
1.1.2 Geographic 12

1.2 Government and other Institutional Reports 12


1.2.1 Thematic 12
1.2.2 Geographic 12

1.3 Popular Literature 13


1.3.1 Thematic 13
1.3.2 Geographic 13

1.4 Integrated Assessment 14

2. Legislation and Government Programs on Marine


and Coastal Zones and Coral Reefs in México 15

2.1 Legislation 15
2.1.1 International Law, Conventions and Agreements 15
2.1.1.1 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) 15
2.1.1.2 Convention on Biological Diversity - Jacarta Mandate 16
2.1.1.3 UN Conference on Environment and Development - Agenda 21 21
2.1.1.4 International Maritime Organization - International Convention for the Prevention of
Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) - The Convention on the Prevention of Marine
Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Convention) 21
2.1.1.5 UNEP Conference on Protection of the Marine Environmental from
Land-Based Activities 23
2.1.1.6 Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the
Wider Caribbean (Cartagena Convention) - Protocol on Specially Protected Areas
and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol) -Association of Caribbean States 24
2.1.1.7 UN Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks - FAO Code of
Conduct for Responsible Fisheries 25
2.1.1.8 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) 27
2.1.1.9 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage 29
2.1.1.10 Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl 29
Habitat (Ramsar)
2.1.1.11 Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) - Subcommission of the
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent
Regions (IOCARIBE) 30
2.1.1.12 North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation - Commission for
Environmental Cooperation 31

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2.1.1.13 Tuxtla I and Tuxtla II Agreements on Cooperation Between México and the Central
American Region - Central American Commission on the Environment and
Development - Mesoamerican Biological Corridor 31
2.1.1.14 Mesoamerican Caribbean Coral Reef Systems Initiative 33

2.1.2 National Legislation 33


2.1.2.1 Environmental Legislation 34
2.1.2.1.1 Ecological Zoning Program 35
2.1.2.1.2 Protected Areas 36
2.1.2.1.2.1 Protected Areas Established for the Conservation of Coral Reefs 36
2.1.2.1.2.2 Other Protected Areas that Include Coral Communities 42
2.1.2.1.3 Official Mexican Norms 43
2.1.2.1.4 Coastal and Marine Pollution Legislation 44
2.1.2.2 Fisheries Legislation 46
2.1.2.2.1 Concessions, Permits and Authorizations 47
2.1.2.2.2 Fisheries Regulations and Official Mexican Norms 50
2.1.2.2.3 Fisheries Reserves and Refuge Zones 51
2.1.2.3 Other Relevant Legislation 51
2.1.2.3.1 Federal Maritime-Terrestrial Zone 51
2.1.2.3.2 Jurisdiction Over the Sea 53
2.1.2.3.3 Navy Secretariat 53
2.1.2.3.4 Navigation and Related Facilities 54
2.1.2.3.5 Tourism 55
2.1.2.3.6 Penal Code 55

2.1.3 State and Municipal Legislation 56

2.2 Government Programs 56


2.2.1 National Development Plan 1995-2000 56
2.2.2 National Environmental Program 1995-2000 57
2.2.3 National Fisheries and Aquaculture Program 1995-2000 59
2.2.4 Mexican Protected Area Program 1995-2000 66
2.2.5 National Committee for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mexican Reefs
2.2.6 National Commission for the Understanding and Use of Biodiversity 67

3. Mexican Coral Reefs and Communities: a National Perspective 68

3.1 Coral Reefs in the Global Context 68

3.2 Mexican Coral Biogeography 69


3.2.1 General Biogeographical Framework for México 69
3.2.2 Coral Biogeography 70

3.3 Species Composition of Coral Reefs and Coral Communities 71


3.3.1 Coral Species List for México 71
3.3.2 Endemic Species 77
3.3.3 Species Distribution 78
Implementation of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) in Mexico
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3.3.3.1 Pacific Ocean Coral Species Distribution 78


3.3.3.2 Atlantic Ocean Coral Species Distribution 80
3.3.3.3 Sponge Species Distribution 84

3.4 Distribution of Coral Reef and Coral Communities in México 87


3.4.1 General Characteristics and Distribution. Pacific Ocean 87
3.4.2 Coral Reefs and Coral Communities of the Gulf of Mexico. Veracruz 93
3.4.3 Coral Reefs and Coral Communities of the Gulf of México-Campeche Bank 101
3.4.4 Coral Reefs and Coral Communities of the Mexican Caribbean 107

3.5 Present Threats 117


3.5.1 Pacific Ocean 117
3.5.2 Gulf of Mexico 118
3.5.3 Caribbean Sea 120

4. The International Coral Reef Initiative 121

4.1 Background 121

4.2 Objectives and Approach 122

4.3 The Call to Action 123

4.4 Framework for Action 124


4.4.1 Management 127
4.4.2 Capacity Building 128
4.4.3 Research and Monitoring 129
4.4.4 Review 130

4.5 Global Activities for the Framework for Action 130


4.5.1 Integrated Coastal Resources Management
4.5.1.1 International 130
4.5.1.2 Regional 130
4.5.1.3 National 131
4.5.2 Capacity Building 132
4.5.2.1 International 132
4.5.2.2 Regional 132
4.5.2.3 National 133
4.5.3 Research and Monitoring 133
4.5.3.1 Assesment 133
4.5.3.2 Monitoring Programs 134
4.5.3.3 Management Oriented Research 134

4.6 Tropical Americas Activities for the Framework for Action 135
4.6.1 Management Option 135
4.6.2 Capacity Building Options 136
Implementation of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) in Mexico
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4.6.3 Research and Monitoring 137

4.7 Tropical Americas Agenda for Action 137


4.7.1 Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Related Institutional, Policy,
and Legal Issues 137
4.7.2 Environmental Education and Awareness 138
4.7.3 Co-Management of Coastal Resources 139
4.7.4 Coral Reef Fisheries Management 140
4.7.5 Marine Protected Areas 141
4.7.6 Land-Based Sources of Pollution 142
4.7.7 Research and Monitoring for the Management of
Coral Reef and Coastal Resources 142
4.7.8 Financing for the Management of Coral Reef and Coastal Resources 143

5. Recomentations for a National Program for the Conservation and Sustainable use
of Mexican Coral Reefs 145

5.1 Goal and General Objectives 146

5.2 Strategies 147

5.3 Coastal Management and Related Institutional Policy and Legal Issues 147
5.3.1 Integrated Coastal Management Planning and Implementation 149
5.3.2 Management of Coral Reef and Communities 151
5.3.3 Managing Coral Reef Fisheries 156
5.3.4 Managing Threats and Opportunities from Tourism 159
5.3.5 Managing Threats from Pollution 160
5.3.6 Enforcing Environmental Legislation 162

5.4 Capacity Building 164


5.4.1 Co-Managing Coral Reefs and Communities Resources 165
5.4.2 Educating and Informing the Public 167
5.4.3 Sustainable Financing 170

5.5 Research and Monitoring 173


5.5.1 Establishing a National Research and Monitoring Agenda 173
5.5.2 Coordinating Research and Monitoring Efforts 178

6 References 181

Annex - Bibliographical Review 187

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Resumen Ejecutivo

Implementación de la Iniciativa Internacional de Arrecifes Coralinos (ICRI) en México.

El objetivo de este proyecto es el desarrollar recomendaciones para la implementación del "Programa


de Conservación y Uso Sustentable de los Arrecifes Mexicanos" dentro del marco de la Iniciativa
Internacional de Arrecifes Coralinos.

En el capítulo 1 se presenta un panorama de los trabajos publicados sobre arrecifes y comunidades


coralinas, basándose en una recopilación bibliográfica que se efectuó expresamente para este
proyecto, misma que se incluye en el anexo de este documento.

Se compilaron un total de 642 citas bibliográficas, mismas que incluyen: artículos científicos (44%),
participaciones en simposios (13%), tesis (18%), reportes (10%), artículos y panfletos de divulgación
popular (15%).

Los trabajos científicos publicados se refieren a la siguiente temática: ecología (39%), general (21%),
taxonomía (19%), conservación (9%), economía (8%) y geología (4%) y se refieren a las siguientes
regiones geográficas: Mar Caribe (49%), Golfo de México-Veracruz (31%), Golfo de México-Banco de
Campeche (10%) Océano Pacífico (10%).

Los principales vacíos de información sobre los recursos coralinos en México son los referentes a los
gorgonáceos del Pacífico, a las comunidades coralinas y arrecifes del Pacífico y al Golfo de México-
Banco de Campeche en donde solo las principales estructuras han sido estudiadas. Los trabajos sobre
los impactos de las actividades humanas y su sinergia con los naturales, especialmente en el campo de
las pesquerías, turismo y las fuentes terrestres de contaminación, son muy escasos.

En el capítulo 2 se analiza el marco jurídico nacional e internacional, así como los programas
nacionales relativos a la protección de la zona costera y marina aplicables a los arrecifes y
comunidades coralinas.

México es signatario de todos los instrumentos de la legislación internacional relativos a la


conservación de la biodiversidad marina.

La legislación nacional que constituye el marco jurídico para la protección y uso de los arrecifes y
comunidades coralinas está constituida por leyes, reglamentos, decretos, acuerdos y Normas Oficiales
Mexicanas relativas a: la legislación ambiental (programas de ordenamiento ecológico, áreas naturales
protegidas, flora y fauna silvestres y acuáticas, contaminación), la legislación pesquera, la legislación
jurisdiccional federal (zona federal marítimo terrestre, zonas marinas mexicanas), la legislación de
navegación y puertos, la legislación turística y el Código Penal.

La estructura programática derivada del Plan Nacional de Desarrollo, pasando por los correspondientes
programas sectoriales, hasta el Comité para la Conservación y Uso Racional de los Arrecifes
Mexicanos, ya está establecida. Este Comité podría constituirse como el órgano promotor y coordinador
del "Programa para la Conservación y Uso Racional de los Arrecifes Mexicanos".

En el capítulo 3 se presenta una compilación de listas y descripciones sobre corales, arrecifes y comunidades
coralinas en México, así como de los principales impactos naturales y humanos sobre estos.
Se han identificado en México un total de 94 géneros de corales con 218 especies, excluyendo los gorgonáceos
del Océano Pacífico. El Pacífico presenta un total de 23 géneros con 51 especies (excluyendo gorgonáceos) y
el Atlántico presenta 63 géneros con 121 especies.

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Los arrecifes y comunidades coralinas mexicanas, pueden ser en términos generales agrupadas en cuatro
grandes zonas geográficas: Océano Pacífico, Golfo de México-Veracruz, Golfo de México-Banco de Campeche
y Mar Caribe. En la zona del Pacífico predominan las comunidades coralinas (corales que no construyen
estructuras), presentándose arrecifes coralinos (corales que si construyen estructuras) de extensión muy
limitada solamente en pocos sitios. La zona Golfo de México-Veracruz presenta arrecifes coralinos cercanos a
la costa en dos lugares, mientras que en la zona Golfo de México-Golfo de Campeche se presentan arrecifes
más abundantes alejados de la costa. La zona del Caribe presenta el mayor desarrollo arrecifal del país,
básicamente un arrecife bordeante que se presenta desde Isla Contoy paralelo a la costa hasta Xcalak, México,
y a lo largo del Cayo Ambergris en Belice, a partir de donde se convierte en la Barrera Arrecifal de Belice.

En el capítulo 4 se compilan los documentos que constituyen el marco de referencia de la Iniciativa


Internacional de Arrecifes Coralinos incluyendo el Plan de Acción de América Tropical, mismos que fueron
utilizados para estructurar las recomendaciones del Programa Nacional.

En el capítulo 5 se presentan las recomendaciones para el Programa Nacional para la Conservación y Uso
Sustentable de los Arrecifes Mexicanos, basadas en la información contenida en los anteriores capítulos.

La estructura básica planteada, refleja las tres principales líneas temáticas del "Llamado a la Acción del ICRI":
Manejo Costero; Creación de la Capacidad; Investigación y Monitoreo. Posteriormente estas líneas temáticas se
desglosa en temas específicos conforme a la "Agenda de Acción para América Tropical" con algunas adiciones
y modificaciones. Finalmente se presentan las acciones y actividades requeridas para implementar los
siguientes temas específicos:

- Planeación e implementación del Manejo Integrado de la Zona Costera.


- Manejo de arrecifes y comunidades coralinas.
- Manejo de las pesquerías arrecifales.
- Manejo de las amenazas y oportunidades del turismo.
- Manejo de las amenazas por contaminación.
- Aplicación de la legislación ambiental
- Co-manejo de los recursos de los arrecifes y comunidades coralinas.
- Educación e información pública.
- Financiamiento sustentable.
- Establecimiento de una agenda nacional de investigación y monitoreo.
- Coordinación de los esfuerzos de investigación y monitoreo.

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Executive Summary

Implementation of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) in Mexico.

The objective of this project is, to develop recommendations for a "National Program for the Conservation and
Sustainable Use of Mexican Reefs" within the context of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI).

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the status of existing information on Mexican coral reefs and communities,
based upon an extensive bibliographical review specifically done for this project, which is included as the Annex
of this document.

A total of 642 references were compiled, including: scientific papers (44%), symposia (13%), theses (18%),
reports (10%), articles on popular publications and pamphlets (15%).

Published works (scientific) dealt with the following thematic subjects: ecology (39%), general (21%), taxonomy
(19%), conservation (9%), economy (8%) and geology (4%).

Published works (scientific) by geographic regions included: Caribbean (49%), Gulf of Mexico-Veracruz (31%),
Gulf of Mexico-Campeche Bank (10%) and Pacific Ocean (10%).

The most significant existing information gaps on Mexican coral resources, are the ones related to gorgonians in
the Pacific Ocean, descriptive work on the coral communities and reefs of the Pacific Ocean and on the Gulf of
Mexico-Campeche Bank, where only the main structures have been studied. Impact assessments on coral reefs
and communities from human sources and their synergy with natural ones, especially those dealing with
fisheries, tourism and land based pollution sources, are very scarce.

Chapter 2 deals with existing national and international legislation and national programs related to
management and protection of the coastal and marine zones in relation to coral reefs and communities.

Mexico has adopted all major instruments of International Law dealing with the conservation of marine
biodiversity.

National legislation that provides the framework for the protection and use of coral reefs and communities, is
composed of a set of Laws, Regulations, Decrees, Secretarial Dictates and Official Mexican Norms, contained
within: the environmental legislation (ecological zoning programs, protected areas, species protection, pollution),
fisheries legislation, national jurisdiction legislation (federal maritime-terrestrial zone, jurisdiction over the sea),
navigation and related facilities legislation, tourism legislation and the Penal Code.

A programmatic framework deriving from the National Development Plan, through sectorial programs and down
to the National Committee for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mexican Coral Reefs, has already been
established. This Committee could constitute the promoting and coordinating body of the National Program for
the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mexican Reefs.

Chapter 3 is a compilation of existing lists and descriptions of Mexican corals, coral reefs and coral communities
and includes an overview of natural and human impacts on them.

A total of 94 coral genera with 218 species were identified for Mexico, not including Pacific Ocean gorgonians.
The Pacific Ocean presented a total of 23 genera with 51 species (excluding gorgonians) and 63 genera with
121 species were found for the Atlantic.

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Coral reefs and communities in Mexico con be in general terms grouped into four large zones: Pacific Ocean,
Gulf of Mexico-Veracruz, Gulf of Mexico-Campeche Bank and Caribbean Sea. Coral communities (corals not
building structures) predominate in the Pacific Ocean zone, where only a few sites present true coral reefs
(corals building structures) limited size. Nearshore coral reefs are found on two sites in the Gulf of Mexico-
Veracruz zone and more abundant distant offshore reefs in the Gulf of Mexico-Campeche Bank zone. The
Caribbean Sea zone presents the best developed reef system for Mexico, basically a fringing reef that develops
from Isla Contoy all the way to Xcalak, Mexico, into Ambergris Key, Belize, becoming afterwards the Belize
Barrier Reef.

Chapter 4 compiles into one document for easy reference, the framework documents of the International Coral
Reef Initiative including the Tropical Americas Agenda for Action, which were used to structure the
recommendations for a National Program.

Chapter 5 presents the recommendations for a "National Program for conservation and Sustainable Use of
Mexican Reefs", based upon the information contained in the previous chapters.

The basic structure reflects the three main thematic lines described in the ICRI call for Action: Coastal
Management, Capacity Building, Research and Monitoring. Afterwards these thematic lines are subdivided into
the specific themes indicated within the Tropical Americas Agenda for Action with some additions and
modifications. Further along the line, actions and activities were developed to implement each of the following
specific themes:

- Integrated Coastal Zone Management planning and implementation.


- Management of coral reefs and communities.
- Managing coral reef fisheries.
- Managing threats and opportunities from tourism.
- Managing threats from pollution.
- Enforcing environmental legislation.
- Co-managing coral reefs and communities resources.
- Educating and informing the public.
- Sustainable financing.
- Establishing a National research and monitoring agenda.
- Coordinating research and monitoring efforts.

Notes:

The contents of chapter 3 were being developed by Amigos de Sian Ka'an, to be published at the end of the
International Year of the Reef. Even though this chapter was not included in the terms of reference of the project,
the authors decided to include it here since it gives an appropriate framework for the development of the
recommendations for a National Program.

In order to make Chapter 5 less repetitive with the previous chapters and to provide within the National Program
the rationale for the Actions and Activities proposed, the conclusions from Chapters 1, 2 and 3 were not included
within the respective chapters, but throughout the National Program. The rationale for the Capacity Building
section of the National Program was also included here, since the project did not consider an analysis of the
status of public awareness, education and financing issues related to coral reefs and the authors decided to
include them in order for the recommendations for a National Program to be complete.

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Important:

Since the first four chapters of the following document are mainly a compilation of existing works, organized into
a more or less coherent form, the main author copied lengthy pieces from other authors. The author by all
means recognizes the intellectual property of these authors, their important contributions to the knowledge of
Mexican coral reefs and communities and apologizes from borrowing their work so extensively and freely. In
order to make the document more readable, copied segments were not identified by using colons or by utilizing a
different type or font.

In some few cases, minor alterations or additions were made to link different sentences and paragraphs from the
same paper, without citing the author between the breaks and citing only at the end. Special care was given to
be as accurate as possible, but for this reason other author's work should not be cited from this document.

All internal citations within the copied segments were respected and read: (Gnoiji, cited in Jing, 1820). When
extensive modifications were needed the citation reads; (modified from Gnoiji, 1492), recognizing that the
general idea was borrowed from the author. The following system was used to identify the sources of copied
segments.

Case 1:
The U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development meets... ...biodiversity measures (de Fountanbert et al.
1996).
The sentence was copied from source.

Case 2:
The U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development meets... ...biodiversity measures as an active member...
...coastal biodiversity measures. (de Fountanbert et al. 1996)
The whole paragraph was copied from source.

Case 3:
8.2.1 International Convention for the prevention of Pollution

Pollution from ships poses a great danger... ...a new annex to MARPOL is under development regulating the
discharge of ballast water...

Pollution from ships poses a great danger to marine biodiversity... ...The 1973 MARPOL Convention aim to
protec the marine environment... ...of oil and other harmful substances... (García, cited in de Fontaubert 1996)

The Convention on the Prevention of marine Pollution... ...was adopted in 1972... ...designed to control the
dumping of waste in the sea...

(de Fontaubert 1996)

The preceding paragraphs up to the chapter, subchapter or section titles, or up until another citation such as
case 1 or 2 are found (not counting internal copied segments citations, which read Gnoiji, cited in Jing 1820),
were copied from source.

Finally, in Chapter 5 the National Plan, no references were cited. In this case, a special note is included in each
of the three references of the documents that were freely used and adapted, specifying in which chapter they
were used.

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1. Status of Information on Mexican Coral Reefs


This chapter presents the results of the final stage of a literature review on work carried out on Mexican corals
and coral reefs. 642 references have been compiled, including scientific papers, government reports, theses,
articles on popular publications and pamphlets. We feel confident that this bibliography includes the great
majority of the information available on Mexican coral reefs (Figure 1).

The oldest reference we found referring to Mexican reefs is that of Smith in 1838. It is a description of the
Alacranes and Arenas cayes in a nautical magazine. The oldest scientific paper we found is by Heilprin in 1890,
a description of some reefs near Veracruz. A total of four papers from last century were found none previous to
those, all by foreign authors.

Clearly almost everything we now know about Mexican reefs comes from this century, especially the second half
of it, since only eight references in our list are dated between 1900 and 1950. The paper by Osorio-Tafall and
Cárdenas in 1945 is the first one we found done by Mexicans. However, only between 1950 and 1960, almost
twice as many publications were found (15), a third of them written by Mexican researchers.

We could say that research on Mexican coral reefs really took off in the late 1950's and the 60's. Jordán, in
1989, did a review of coral reef studies in Mexico, concentrating on work developed from around 1960 to the
date of his publication. He mentioned how the work, up until 1989, had been carried out mainly by two
institutions: the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN),
and that "Mexican coral reefs are (were) still poorly known". He suggested more base-line and descriptive
studies along with other more specific lines in ecology, physiology and oceanography of all taxa which form a
coral reef. He also expected that "in some ten years from now (1989), coral reef studies will have a solid base to
start with, and a comprehensive inventory of our reef resources will be obtained then. During this period we
would have gain both in scientific personnel training and first-hand experience, setting up the conditions for more
elaborated future research projects on reef science."

These expectations seem to be well on their way. In the review presented here, we found 275 publications
produced in the 150 years of studies on Mexican reefs prior to Jordan's review (1838-1988), while 359
publications have been produced in the remaining nine years (1989-1997 and in press, see table 1). Although
UNAM and IPN are still the leading institutions behind this research, many other institutions and organizations
are now making large contributions to it. For the rest of this report, 1989 will be used as a turning point to
compare past and present advances in the study of coral reefs

Figure 1.

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Table 1. Number of publications on Mexican coral reefs arranged by type of publication, topic and geographic
region (see figures 1-3).

SCIENTIFIC
Papers Symposia Theses Reports Popular Total
Thematic: Ecology 116 47 88 21 40 313
General 64 22 6 23 57 172
Taxonomy 84 19 38 12 0 154
Conservation 17 15 1 18 21 74
Economic 21 1 15 7 17 62
Geology 25 1 6 1 0 33

Geographic: Caribbean 129 37 52 31 55 304


Gulf of Mexico 80 29 58 22 5 196
Campeche Bank 42 5 7 9 2 65
Pacific 40 15 6 1 1 64

1838 - 1989 141 37 53 31 13 275


1989 - present 140 45 62 28 82 359

National 136 27 101 82


International 147 55 15 14

Total 283 82 116 61 96 642

Note: Numbers within topics or geographic regions may not add up to the total since some publications may deal with more than one topic or
region. For the rows of periods before and after 1989, numbers may not add up to the total since the year was missing in some references.
Numbers for the total row do not add up since four references were incomplete and could not be assigned to any category.

1.1 Scientific Literature

Of all references in this review, 75% can be considered scientific work and they include theses and dissertations
(18%), symposia presentations (13%) and papers in scientific journals and books (44%).

About 87% of theses and dissertations have been made by students of Mexican institutions, mainly by those of
UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) and IPN (National Polytechnic Institute). Within UNAM, most
theses come from the Facultad de Ciencias or the Escuela Nacional de Estudios Profesionales in Iztacala and
just a few of them from the graduate program of the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología. Other Mexican
institutions whose students have done theses on Mexican coral reefs are Universidad de Baja California Sur,
Universidad de Baja California Norte, Universidad de Nuevo Leon, Universidad Veracruzana, Universidad Simon
Bolivar and Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. 53 theses and dissertations had been made before 1989 and,
since that year, 62 more theses have been completed.

Presentations in meetings and symposia represent 13% of the production on coral reefs, out of which 4% have
been presented in national meetings and 9% in international ones. The number of these presentations before
1989 was only of 37, while 45 have been presented in the last 9 years.
Papers in scientific journals and books represent 44% of the publications in this review; 21% have been
published in Mexican journals or books, and 23 % have been international publications. Prior to 1989, 140 of
these papers had been published, whereas 140 have been published since 1989.

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1.1.1. Thematic
Ecology (natural history, physiology, community structure, population dynamics) was the topic most frequently
covered by scientific publications (52% of 481 scientific publications). The distribution among papers, theses and
symposia presentations for this and the following topics can be seen in table 1. 19% of the scientific production
included general descriptions of the reefs and 29% dealt with taxonomic issues of different taxa (mainly soft and
hard corals, fish, algae, sponges and mollusks). 7% of the publications addressed conservation and about the
same percentage deal with the economic importance of the reef ecosystem. About 7% of the publications
addressed the geology of the structures.

1.1.2 Geographic
Most of the scientific production found in this review focuses on the Caribbean reefs (46% of scientific
references) and the Gulf of Mexico reefs (35%). Less attention has been given to the Pacific reefs which has
only 13% of the scientific references and the formations in the Campeche Bank which are the focus of only 11%
of such references. A more detailed breakdown of scientific literature among geographic regions may be seen in
tables 1 and 2.

1.2 Government and other Institutional Reports

This section includes references of reports made to government agencies or any other organization. Even
though they include very valuable information, they have not been subject to a peer review process as those in
the previous section. They constitute only 10% of the references (61 reports, see table 1).

1.2.1 Thematic
Of all reports, 38% included general descriptions of coral reefs; 35% included ecological information and 30%
addressed conservation, 21% included taxonomic information and 14% dealt with the economic importance of
the systems.

1.2.2 Geographic
As in the case of the scientific production, most reports were done on Caribbean structures (46%) or the Gulf of
Mexico (39%). Structures of the Campeche Bank were the focus of 15% of the work and only 1 report was found
on structures from the Pacific.

Figure 2.

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Figure 3.

1.3 Popular literature


Under this topic we include work found on popular publications with no scientific or technical approach. We have
not focused our search on this kind of literature given that the information it provides is secondary, usually based
on scientific publications or reports and is mainly oriented towards creating public awareness or to be used for
environmental education. Furthermore, these publications are usually not indexed in a way that searches may be
made efficiently.
However, we were able to collect 96 references (15% of the total) on popular knowledge on coral reefs, many by
the same authors who have produced most of the technical and scientific work.

1.3.1 Thematic
Most popular publications on coral reefs dealt with general descriptions (59%) and ecology (42%). Conservation
issues were discussed in 22% of these and 18% approached economic issues. None of them dealt with
taxonomy or geology.

1.3.2 Geographic
The majority of popular publications were related to the Caribbean reefs (57%), this is due mainly to the series
published during 1997 by the Crónica de Cancún and the Miami Herald (Cancun) in relation to the International
Year of the Reef. The Gulf of Mexico was the focus of 5% of popular publications, the Campeche Bank was the
topic of 2 articles and only one popular publication was found to be devoted to Pacific reefs. Many popular
publications however, did not focus on any geographic area but dealt with coral reefs in general.
Most of these popular publications on Mexican reefs were produced in México (table 1). It was also clear that
publication of popular and educational literature on Mexican reefs is a recent phenomenon since only 13 of this
type of publications were found before 1989, while 82 date from 1989 to the present. A majority of these were
published during 1997, the International Year of the Reef.

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1.4 Integrated Assessment

This review clearly shows that most of the work on Mexican coral reefs has been undertaken in the most
important reef regions, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, and has focused on general descriptions of the
structures as well as the ecology and taxonomy of the organisms which conform them.
The structures from the Campeche Bank and the Pacific have been understudied. The later were considered of
secondary importance by Jordan's 1989 revision, however, recent work has shown that their importance had
been underestimated. The structures of the Campeche Bank have been relatively neglected probably due to
their inaccessibility since they are located much further from the nearest coast than the structures of all the other
geographic regions.
Many institutions and organizations other than UNAM and IPN (CINVESTAV) have produced important work in
the last decade. In the Pacific Region the State Universities of both Baja California Norte and Baja California
Sur, as well as the Universidad del Mar (Oaxaca) have produced most of the work showing the importance of the
Pacific coral communities and reefs. The Caribbean Region has received great attention in the last 10 years, not
only by UNAM and IPN, but by other groups such as Amigos de Sian Ka'an and ECOSUR.
Only during the last few years have conservation and economic issues emerged in the context of reef studies in
Mexico. Although the trend is positive, much is still needed in regard to these issues.
A complete list of references found is included in the Bibliographic Review.

Table 2. Number of publications on Mexican reefs arranged by topic and geographic region (see figure 4).

CAR GULF PAC CAMP Total


Ecology 163 90 35 15 313
General 77 43 17 20 172
Taxonomy 51 83 18 20 154
Conservation 34 20 1 6 74
Economic 48 5 0 3 62
Geology 13 10 3 13 33
Total 304 196 64 65

Note: Numbers within topics or geographic regions may not add up to the totals since some publications may deal with more than one topic
or region.

Figure 4.

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2. Legislation and Government Programs on Marine and Coastal Zones


and Coral Reefs in Mexico
The following chapter compiles the legal and programmatic framework for the protection of coral reefs and
communities in Mexico, within an integrated context for marine and coastal zone management and summarizes
the legislation and government programs that could support the establishment of a National Program for the
Conservation and Sustainable use of Mexican Reefs.

2.1 Legislation

The legislative framework for coral ecosystems management in Mexico is composed by the International
Conventions and Agreements signed by Mexico and by a body of Mexican Laws, Regulations, Decrees and
Secretarial Dictates and Official Mexican Norms dealing with marine and coastal management issues.

2.1.1 International Law, Conventions and Agreements

Mexico has signed all major International Law instruments, dealing with coastal and marine biodiversity.

2.1.1.1 United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Montego Bay, 1982

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) establishes numerous rights and obligations
for conservation of marine living resources and protection of the marine environment. When it was adopted after
more than ten years of negotiations, UNCLOS was dubbed "a new constitution for the oceans" because it aimed
to regulate practically all marine activities in any of the seas.

UNCLOS was opened for signature in 1982 but did not come into force until November 16, 1994, because of a
controversial part of the Convention that deals with deep seabed mining (Part XI). This problem was addressed
through the negotiation of the 1994 Part XI Agreement, which adopted a modified regime for those mineral
resources found on the seabed in the high seas. Over 100 nations have ratified UNCLOS including Mexico,
many more have signed it and indicated their intention to ratify it shortly, and many nations either have or are in
the process of accepting the Part XI Agreement.

Under UNCLOS, coastal States' jurisdictional rights extend to a set of maritime zones, including inland waters,
the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). For each of these zones,
UNCLOS establishes a set of rights and obligations for the coastal State. Coastal States have sovereign
jurisdiction in inland waters and (subject to rights of other States) over their territorial seas, which extend twelve
nautical miles from a baseline that is approximately equivalent to the coastline. (A nautical mile is equal to 1.852
kilometers). Within their EEZs, which can extend up to 200 nautical miles (approximately 370 kilometers) from
their coastline, coastal States have exclusive jurisdictional rights, as defined in the UNCLOS, over all living
resources. In contrast to the territorial sea and internal waters, these rights are counterbalanced by obligations to
conserve those resources. Coastal States also have exclusive rights over sedentary species and nonliving
resources found on the bottom and in the subsoil of the continental shelf, which is defined to extend up to 200
nautical miles or to the outer edge of the geological continental margin, whichever is farther from the coast.

At the same time, coastal States are obligated under Articles 192 and 61.2 to conserve and manage the living
marine resources under their jurisdiction. States also have obligations to protect the marine environment and
conserve its living resources beyond areas of national jurisdiction. For example, the freedom to fish on the high
seas is limited by the requirements of Articles 117-120 that States cooperate to conserve and manage living
resources of the high seas. UNCLOS also provides that States are to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the
marine environment. In addition, States are obligated to share monitoring and assessment information and also
to collaborate to undertake additional studies and research concerning the marine environment.

Several recent international efforts build on principles articulated in UNCLOS. These include: (1) the U.N.
Agreement on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (1995); (2) the UNEP Global Program of
Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (1995); and (3) the FAO Code of
Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995). These are discussed separately below.
(de Fontaubert et al. 1996)
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2.1.1.2 The Convention on Biological Diversity, Rio de Janeiro 1992 - The Jakarta Mandate

The Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity is a legally binding agreement opened for signature at the Earth Summit
in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Over 145 countries are Parties. The Convention's objectives are: the conservation of
biological diversity (biodiversity); the sustainable use of biodiversity's components; and the equitable sharing of
benefits derived from genetic resources. The Convention defines biodiversity as "the variability among living
organisms from all sources, including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the
ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of
ecosystems".

The Convention recognizes "the importance of biological diversity for ... maintaining life sustaining systems of
the biosphere." It acknowledges that "conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity is of critical
importance for meeting the food, health and other needs of the growing world population." Biodiversity has
intrinsic value, and biodiversity and its components have "ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific,
education, cultural, recreational and aesthetic values."

The Convention establishes a framework of general obligations that Parties are to elaborate in more detail at the
national level. For example, Parties must: create national plans, strategies or programs for conservation and
sustainable use; inventory and monitor the biodiversity within their own territories; identify and regulate
destructive activities; and, integrate consideration of biodiversity into national decision making. Parties must also
take special measures to protect customary resource uses and local and indigenous communities' traditional
knowledge, innovations, and practices, where they carry on sustainable traditions. Most of the Convention's
obligations allow Parties some flexibility in implementation, recognizing that conditions of biodiversity
conservation and loss may vary widely.

The Convention also provides for an international structure to support national implementation and to promote
continued international cooperation. This includes a permanent Secretariat, a Subsidiary Body on Scientific,
Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), and a Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) to support scientific
and technical cooperation. The parties meet periodically at Conferences of the Parties (COP) to elaborate and
build on the Convention, for instance by negotiating protocols (follow-up treaties on specific issues), or creating
and modifying annexes on technical or scientific matters. Each party must submit reports on its implementation
to the COP. There is also a multilateral fund, currently operated by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), that is
funded by developed countries and helps finance implementation in developing country Parties.

The Convention establishes a new international regime for the transfer of "genetic resources," which are defined
as "genetic material of actual or potential value." The Convention affirms each Party's sovereign right to control
access to its genetic resources, while requiring that the Party make efforts to facilitate access for other Parties. It
also requires the users of genetic resources to take measures to promote equitable sharing of the benefits,
including technologies, with the providers of those resources.

(Adapted from Downes cited in de Fontaubert et al. 1996)

In Mexico the Secretariat for the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries (SEMARNAP) is in charge of
the implementation of the Convention, and has:

- Created the National Commission for the Understanding and Use of Biodiversity (Comisión Nacional de Uso y
Conocimiento de la Biodiversidad - CONABIO), an organization devoted to funding, documenting, research and
policy development related to biodiversity protection;

- Implemented a Program for Productive Ecology (Programa para la Ecología Productiva - Solidaridad) as part of
the Solidarity Community Development Program established to promote sustainable development of natural
resources with an emphasis on the reuse and recycling of solid waste;

- Created a Commission for Sustainable Development (Comisión para el Desarrollo Sostenible) under
SEMARNAP. (Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org 1995)

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The Jakarta Mandate

The Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity, at its second meeting held in Jakarta
in 1995, outlined a program of action for implementing the Convention with respect to marine and coastal
biodiversity. In the declaration adopted during the COP's ministerial segment, the ministers termed this program
the "Jakarta Mandate." The Jakarta Mandate consists primarily of the recommendations to the COP from the
Subsidiary Body on Science, Technology and Technical Advice (SBSTTA), which were adopted at its first
meeting held in Paris in 1995. It also includes several additional points agreed upon at the COP.

Most of these points were positive additions to the SBSTTA's recommendations. The following summary reviews
the major substantive points of Jakarta Mandate. The COP also directed the secretariat to launch a process for
developing recommended options for implementation of the Jakarta Mandate. This process will include meetings
of experts drawn from a Roster of Experts on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity.

- Integrated Marine and Coastal Area Management (ICAM)

Integrated marine and coastal area management (ICAM) is the most suitable framework for addressing human
impacts on marine and coastal biodiversity and for promoting conservation and sustainable use.

COP II/10.2; SBSTTA 1/8.10. Parties should promote ICAM as the framework for addressing impacts of land-
based activities. SBSTTA 1/8.10 (a). ICAM should address the socio-economic needs of coastal communities.
SBSTTA 1/8.10 (d).

Governments should establish or strengthen the institutional, administrative, and legislative arrangements for the
development of integrated management of marine and coastal ecosystems, plans and strategies for marine and
coastal areas, and their integration within national development plans. COP II/10.3.

Integrated management measures for environmentally sound land and coastal resources use practices should
be based on precautionary ecosystem management approaches and best management practices. SBSTTA
1/8.10 (b)(ii).

In addition to protecting specific stocks, the protection of ecosystem functioning should be emphasized in
modeling, assessment, and conservation measures. The present mono-species approach to modeling and
assessment should be augmented by an ecosystem process-oriented approach, based on research of
ecosystem processes and functions, with an emphasis on identifying ecologically critical processes.
Interdisciplinary scientific groups should develop models of ecosystem processes, and apply them in the
development of sustainable land and coastal resource use practices. COP II/10 Annex I (v).

Governments should carry out environmental impact assessments of all major coastal and marine development
activities, paying special attention to marine and coastal biological diversity and taking into account cumulative
impacts. SBSTTA 1/8.10 (c).

Governments should undertake systematic monitoring and evaluation of project impacts during implementation.
SBSTTA 1/8.10 (c).

The impacts of land-based activities on marine and coastal biological diversity should be assessed and
addressed, in close cooperation with the implementation of the Global Program of Action for the Protection of the
Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities. SBSTTA 1/8.10 (f).

Relevant sectoral activities are crucial components of ICAM. They include, inter alia, construction and mining in
coastal areas, mariculture, mangrove management, tourism, recreation, fishing practices, and watershed
management. COP 11/10 Annex I (ii). Sustainable tourism planning and management should be incorporated
into ICAM. SBSTTA 1/8.10 (b)(iii).

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Current sectoral approaches to the management of marine and coastal resources have generally not proven
capable of conserving marine and coastal biodiversity. Governments should develop new models based on
precautionary approaches and ecosystem management principles. SBSTTA 1/8 Annex 6.
The impacts of dislodging and pollution by maritime vessels on marine and coastal biological diversity, in
particular in those countries which border international waterways, should be assessed, and measures adopted
to mitigate adverse effects. SBSTTA 1/8.10 (g).

Parties are encouraged to undertake and exchange information on ICAM demonstration projects. COP II/10
Annex I (iii).

Governments should promote rapid appraisal techniques to improve the conservation and management of
marine and coastal biodiversity. SBSTTA 1/8 10 (e).

- Marine and Coastal Protected Areas

The value of living marine resources for biodiversity conservation should be an important criterion for the
selection of marine and coastal protected areas, within the framework of integrated marine and coastal area
management. Conservation measures should emphasize the protection of ecosystem functioning, in addition to
protecting specific stock. COP 11/10 Annex l (iv).

Parties should explore means to incorporate marine and coastal protected areas within a broader framework for
multiple use planning, as exemplified in UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program. SBSTTA 1/8.11 (c).

Parties should encourage local communities and resource users to participate in the planning, management, and
conservation of coastal and marine protected areas. SBSTTA 1/8.11 (d).

In the context of ICAM, Parties should establish or consolidate representative systems of marine and coastal
protected areas (MPAs) and enhance linkages and information exchange among the sites. SBSTTA 1/8.11 (a).

Parties should promote the research and monitoring of MPAs to assess their value for the conservation and
sustainable management of biodiversity. SBSTTA 1/8.11 (b).

Rapid assessment techniques should be applied, as appropriate, to assess the conservation requirements of
MPAs. SBSTTA 1/8 11 (e).

In the development and implementation of management plans, all three levels of biological diversity, (ecosystem,
species, and population or genetic) and factors determining their structure and function, should be considered.
SBSTTA 1/8 11 (e).

- Sustainable Use of Coastal and Marine Living Resources

In their national plans and programs, Parties should ensure, as far as possible and as appropriate, that:

Management decisions are based upon a precautionary approach. SBSTTA 1/8.8.12 (a).

Management decisions are based on the best available and sound scientific knowledge, research and
information, taking into account ecosystem impacts. SBSTTA 1/8.12 (b).

Waste (e.g., through discard, spoilage, or mortality) in the trade in living organisms is reduced SBSTTA 1/8.12
(c).
Local communities, users, and indigenous people are involved in the conservation and management of
resources. SBSTTA 1/8.12 (d).

There is national legislation that ensures the conservation and sustainable use of living marine and coastal
resources, which is in conformity with the Convention on Biological Diversity, UNCLOS, and Agenda 21.
SBSTTA 1/8.12 (e).
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The provisions of the FAO of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries are followed. SBSTTA 1/8.12 (e).

Countries accede to existing international agreements addressing the over-exploitation and conservation of
marine and coastal resources, and fully implement and enforce them, especially the Agreement on Straddling
and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. SBSTTA 1/8.12 (f).

Monitoring mechanisms are used or established to assist in the sustainable management of marine and coastal
living resources. SBSTTA 1/8.12 (g).

National plans and programs incorporate the basic management elements described above. SBSTTA 1/8.12.

FAO efforts to provide advice on management and technology tools recommended in the FAO Code of Conduct
are supported. SBSTTA 1/8.13.

They identify constraints, including economic, for conversion of fishing gear and phase-out of fishing over-
capacity, and consider the possibility of reducing subsidies for fisheries. SBSTTA 1/8.14 (a).

They take into account the ecosystem functions and processes, identifying and targeting critical processes for
the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. SBSTTA 1/8.14 (c).

They promote cooperation between regional fisheries bodies and regional organizations for the protection and
conservation of marine environment. COP 11/18 Annex I (viii).

- Implementing Environmentally Sustainable Mariculture Practice

Parties should implement environmentally sustainable mariculture practices, as far as possible and appropriate,
including the following:

Integrated marine and coastal zone management plans should incorporate mariculture, paying special attention
to the vulnerability of areas of high biological value. SBSTTA 1/8.15 1(a).

Mariculture activities should be subject to prior environmental and social impact assessments (in accordance
with Article 14), as well as regulations (Article 10), incorporating the participation and needs of local and
indigenous communities. SBSTTA 1/8.15 I (b).

National reports and national biodiversity strategies should include an examination of mariculture operations and
steps to avoid significant adverse impacts. SBSTTA 1/8.15 IV.

The use of chemicals for therapeutics and other mariculture applications should be minimized. SBSTTA 1/8.15
(c).

High nutrient release and freshwater diversion should be minimized in mariculture operations, and eutrophication
should be avoided. Chemicals should only be used in a prescribed and responsible manner, involving improved
waste treatment and feed technology, and integrated farming and polyculture. SBSTTA 1/8.15 I (c).

Natural stocks should not be overexploited through the harvesting of wild larvae for mariculture. SBSTTA 1/8.15
I (d).

In mariculture, the introduction of alien species, the products of selected breeding and living modified organisms
resulting from modern biotechnology, should be treated as an introduction into the wild. Adherence to
international codes of practice should be a minimum requirement. SBSTTA 1/8.15 I (e).

Because of the potentially high risks of introductions of species, prior impact assessments should be rigorous,
and must reflect application of the precautionary principle. SBSTTA 1/8.15 I (e).

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An appropriate monitoring program must be put in place if introduction goes ahead. Preference should be given
to use of indigenous species. The development of technology to ensure a more complete containment should be
encouraged. SBSTTA 1/8.15 I (e).

Knowledge of the genetic structure of the local populations of marine species subject to stock enhancement and
sea-ranching activities should be improved. This knowledge should be used in the management of breeding
stocks according to sound genetic principles that take into account the use of local populations for stock
selection, minimum breeding numbers, and the renewal frequency of the breeding stock from the wild
population. SBSTTA II/10 Annex l (ix)

The conservation of genetic diversity in the wild stocks from which farmed populations are derived should be an
objective of overall management. SBSTTA 1/8 15 I (f).

Where appropriate and practical, Parties should prevent the physical alteration, destruction or degradation of
vital habitats, and pursue the restoration of degraded habitats, including spawning areas and nursery grounds.
SBSTTA II/10 Annex I (ii).

Parties should, where possible, undertake restoration programs in areas where unsustainable mariculture
operations have already degraded or destroyed natural habitats and ecosystems, including spawning areas and
nursery grounds. SBSTTA 1/8.15 I (g), II/10 Annex I (ii).

The clearing-house mechanism should be used to link databases and information networks to collect and
disseminate data related to responsible mariculture measures, and other information relevant to mariculture,
such as information on infectious agents, parasites, and disease outbreaks. SBSTTA 1/8.15 II 17(a).

- Introduction of Alien Species

Parties should include in national plans and programs, as far as possible and as appropriate:

Means to prevent, control or eradicate alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats, or species, in
accordance with Article 8, paragraph (h). These means might include the implementation of international
protocols and guidelines (e.g., IMO ballast water guidelines, or the International Council for the Exploration of the
Sea Code of Practice). SBSTTA 1/8.16 I (a).

Conduct environmental impact assessments, including risk assessment, prior to intentional introductions.
SBSTTA 1/8.16 I (b). The assessment could include:

·the identification of primary pathways for unintentional introductions,


·the identification of types of organisms with the greatest potential to be dangerous,
·mitigation techniques to minimize unintentional introductions,
·monitoring to identify the establishment of alien species,
·and the development of means for the elimination of hazardous alien species.

Parties should consult with neighboring States before introducing alien species into shared waters. SBSTTA
1/8.16 I (b).

Before intentionally introducing non-native species, Parties should assess possible indigenous species
alternatives, whether the introduced species can be adequately monitored (per Article 7, paragraph (c), and
whether adverse effects can be reversed within two human generations. SBSTTA 1/8.16 I (c).

Prior to intentional introductions, parties should also assess biological information on the species in its native
habitat, including life stages and trophic level; the results of previous introductions of this species elsewhere; the
potential impacts on indigenous species, through, for example, predation and competition, or on ecosystem
function, the associated pathogens and parasites and the ability to treat or screen for such organisms; the
potential for habitat modification by the introduced species; and the potential for interbreeding with deleterious
genetic impacts on indigenous species and stock. The assessment should take into account that organisms

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transferred from one ecosystem to another may not maintain the same characteristics in the new ecosystem,
SBSTTA 1/8.16 I (c).

Parties should conduct environmental impact assessments before constructing canals linking coastal water
bodies. SBSTTA 1/8.16 I (d).
Parties should educate the public on the possible dangers to the ecosystem that could result from the release of
ornamental species and unauthorized releases of species for sport fisheries. SBSTTA 1/8.16 I (e).

In addition, Parties should conduct further research on the impacts of alien species on in-situ conservation, such
as:
· ecological surveys and ballast discharge water surveys to help establish baseline data and level of risk
associated with introductions through ballast water, including the effects of the introduction of harmful
algae species through ballast water;
· the long-term effects of species replacements, due to introductions, on ecosystem functioning. SBSTTA
1/8.16 II.

(de Fontaubert et al. 1996)

2.1.1.3 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development - Agenda 21, Rio de Janeiro, 1992

Agenda 21 is a program of action for sustainable development that was adopted at the U.N. Conference on
Environment and Development in June 1992. While this instrument lacks the force of binding international law,
the signature of this text carries with it a strong political obligation to ensure its full implementation. Moreover, the
consensus achieved in Agenda 21 already has spurred the conclusion of a number of international initiatives,
such as the adoption in 1995 of the U.N. Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks and the
1994 Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. Agenda 21 provides
additional evidence of the international community's broad support for the tasks to be undertaken pursuant to the
Convention.

Two chapters of Agenda 21 are particularly relevant to the protection of marine biodiversity. Chapter 15 on the
conservation of biological diversity; and Chapter 17 on the protection of the oceans, including open, enclosed
and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas, including the protection, rational use and development of their living
resources. Of the two chapters, Chapter 17 provides the broadest support for actions to protect marine
biodiversity and promote sustainable use. For example, Chapter 17 specifically calls for coastal States to
undertake measures to maintain biological diversity and productivity of marine species under national
jurisdiction.

The U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development meets annually in New York to review progress in
implementing Agenda 21. At the 1996 meeting, countries reviewed implementation of Chapter 17 of Agenda 21.
CBD Parties should make themselves aware of the Commission's activities and findings with respect to ongoing
efforts to implement marine and coastal biodiversity measures.

(de Fontaubert et al. 1996)

2.1.1.4 International Maritime Organization (IMO) - International Convention for the Prevention of
Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) - The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of
Wastes and other Matter (London Convention)

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

The IMO regulates all technical matters in relation to maritime trade dispositions, for example, matters related to
maritime security and the prevention and control of ocean pollution by ships.

The Caribbean Sea (including the Gulf of Mexico) was designated as a "special area" by the IMO, on account of
an existing commitment Mexico made to control sea pollutants and fortify legislation for management and
disposal of land residues.
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As an acting member of the IMO secretarial group, Mexico’s National Institute of Ecology (NIE) helped in
coordinating a plan of action and the unification of maritime security and transportation, as a means to protect
the marine environment. Also, in order to carry out the Convention of MARPOL at the regional level, the INE
worked in cooperation with the "The Wider Caribbean Region Initiative Against Ship Contamination."

(pers. comm. INE/Lezcano 1997)

International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), 1973-1978

Pollution from ships poses a great danger to marine biodiversity. Highly productive estuaries and other coastal
areas are particularly at risk from discharges. The 1973 MARPOL Convention and its 1978 Protocol aim to
protect the marine environment by eliminating intentional discharges of oil and other harmful substances and
minimizing accidental discharges of such substances by vessels sailing under flags of State Parties. Parties to
the Convention opt to abide by one or more of the five annexes that deal with various substances and cargo
loads: Annex I (oil); II (noxious liquids carried in bulk); III (packaged substances); IV (sewage); V (garbage and
plastics). MARPOL also provides for designation of "Special Areas" of enclosed or semi-enclosed seas, based
on ecological and traffic conditions, in which discharges are especially restricted. The IMO has developed
guidelines for identifying special areas. A new annex to MARPOL is under development regulating the discharge
of ballast water for the purpose of preventing alien species introductions.

MARPOL has had some success in helping to reduce the number of operational discharges at sea, but
implementation could be greatly strengthened. Implementation of Annex I on oil has had the most success. By
signing, acceding to the Annexes and implementing MARPOL, Parties can reduce the harm to biodiversity due
to activities of their nationals, whether in their own areas of jurisdiction, in the areas of another State or in a
global commons area. Parties should maintain their commitment to ongoing efforts under MARPOL, such as
attending technical meetings.

(de Fontaubert et al. 1996).

Currently, Annex I and II are obligatory for Mexico, the rest are optional. Annex V has been approved by Mexico
and will soon become obligatory when published in the Official Journal of the Federation (Diario Oficial de la
Federación - D.O.F.).

In 1996, under the direction of the Secretariat for Foreign Relations, the Intersecretarial Group for International
Maritime Organization Affairs created the National Regulation Project as a means for implementing the MARPOL
Convention of 1973-1978, of which is currently being edited for publication in the D.O.F.

In September of 1997, the Conference of Parties of the MARPOL Convention will examine the Protocol for 1997
with the addition of Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention of 1973-1978 that concerns ship emissions
contributing to the pollution of the atmosphere.

(pers. comm. INE/Lezcano 1997)

The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and other Matter, London,
1972 (London Convention)

The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and other Matter, also known as
the London Convention, was adopted in 1972, and entered into force in 1975. The disposal of wastes at sea can
have severe impacts on marine biodiversity. The London Convention is designed to control the dumping of
waste in the sea, and to encourage the formation of regional agreements to supplement the Convention. It
requires States to limit the disposal at sea of such substances as radioactive materials, biological and chemical
warfare agents, persistent plastics, heavy metals and toxic organics. Importantly, the Convention applies to
activities of vessels flying flags of State Parties beyond national jurisdiction.

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Countries should seek to adopt the Convention's pollution prevention approach at the national level. Moreover,
UNCLOS Article 210.6 indicates that States are required to implement the London Convention's pollution
reduction and prevention requirements because they qualify as globally applicable ocean dumping requirements
(Birnie and Boyle 1992).(de Fontaubert et al. 1996)

Other Instruments

Other international instruments related to marine pollution signed by Mexico are:

International Convention on high seas intervention in case of accidents that cause pollution by oil spills
(Brussels, 1969).

International Convention on high seas intervention in case of pollution caused from substances different from oil
(London, 1973).

United States of Mexico and United States of America Agreement of cooperation on environmental pollution by
oil spills and other toxic substances.
(Brañes, R. 1994)

2.1.1.5 UNEP Conference on Protection of the Marine Environmental from Land-Based Activities,
Washington, 1995

As discussed previously, UNCLOS requires States to address land-based sources of marine pollution, which is a
principal threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Recognizing that specific implementation of this general
obligation is complex and demands significant resources, the international community affirmed in Agenda 21 the
need to implement their obligations to protect coastal and marine environments against land-based sources of
pollution.

The UNEP Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt a Global Program of Action for the Protection of the Marine
Environment from Land-Based Activities, was held in Washington, D.C. in 1995. This Conference, which was
called for in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, resulted in the Global Program of Action for the Protection of Marine
Environment from Land-Based Activities (the GPA), UNEP (OCA)/LBA/IG.2/7, and the Washington Declaration
on Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities, UNEP (OCA)/LBA/IG.2.6.

The GPA calls for actions to be taken at the national, regional and international levels. For example, it
recognizes integrated coastal area management (ICAM - ICZM) as an essential tool for addressing the impacts
of land-based activities at the national level. It also contains a number of prescriptive approaches to deal with
different categories of sources, including detailed recommendations for the regulation of sewage, persistent
organic pollutants (POPs), radioactive substances, heavy metals, oils (hydrocarbons), nutrients, sediment
mobilization, litter, and physical alterations and destruction of habitats. The Washington Declaration calls on all
Parties, to inter alia, develop or review national action programs, to cooperate on a regional basis to coordinate
their efforts, and to develop a legally binding instrument for the reduction and/or elimination of emissions and
discharges of POPs, and the elimination of their manufacture and use where appropriate.

Through this Conference and the implementation of its GPA, governments have recognized the need to take a
global approach to address the issue of marine pollution. While the bulk of the actions to be taken will be
implemented at the national level, the GPA and Washington Declaration acknowledge the importance of
cooperating in building capacities and mobilizing resources, cooperating on a regional basis, to coordinate
efforts for maximum efficiency, and initiating the negotiation of a global legally-binding instrument to regulate the
use production of POPs.

Both the GPA and the Washington Declaration will require further cooperation among the Parties and all the
relevant U.N. agencies. Thus, the GPA set in motion a process for UNEP to organize an inter-organizational
group to develop the design and structure of a clearing-house mechanism in respect to the various source
categories identified in the GPA, and the specific role that each U.N. agency will play.

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The Program of Action also calls on States to negotiate and implement a legally binding instrument to address,
where appropriate, the issue of production and consumption of persistent organic instruments (POPs). This
elaboration of more specific strategies on reducing land-based sources of marine pollution enables States to
begin devising and implementing national management regimes which should ultimately form a major part of

the actions needed to protect marine biodiversity (see the discussion in the section on integrated coastal area
management, Part II, Action Item I).

(de Fontaubert et al. 1996)

2.1.1.6 Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider
Caribbean (Cartagena Convention) - Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol)
- Association of Caribbean States

Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean
(Cartagena Convention), Colombia, 1983.

The Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider
Caribbean Region was convened by the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program in
persuant to a recommendation adopted by the Intergovernmental Meeting on the Action Plan for the Caribbean
Environment Program (Montego Bay, 6 to 8 April 1981). The Conference met at Cartagena de Indias, from 21 to
24 March 1983.

As a result of its deliberations, the following instruments were adopted by the Conference:
- Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region;
- Protocol concerning Co-operation in Combating Oil Spills in the Wider Caribbean Region

The Government of the Republic of Colombia has been designated as the Depositary for the Convention and
Protocol. UNEP has been designated as responsible for carrying out the Secretariat function for the Convention
and Protocol (Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean
Region, article 30).

The "Convention area" means the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the areas
of the Atlantic Ocean adjacent thereto, south of 30° north latitude and within 200 nautical miles of the Atlantic
coasts of the States participant to the Convention.

The Convention is a comprehensive, umbrella agreement for the protection and development of the marine
environment. It lists the sources of pollution which require control: pollution from ships, dumping, land-based
sources and sea-bed activities together with airborne pollution. It also identifies environmental management
issues for which co-operative efforts are to be made: specially protected areas, co-operation in cases of
emergency, environmental impact assessment and scientific and technical co-operation. There is also an article
on liability and compensation.

By ratifying a protocol, a Party accepts more specific obligations to control pollution from a discrete source, or to
co-operate in a specific aspect of environmental management. Under the Convention no State or regional
economic integration organization may become a contracting party to the Convention without also becoming a
contracting party to at least one protocol.

(Regional Coordinating Unit Caribbean Action Plan undated)

A third Protocol Concerning the Pollution of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Sources and Activities is
being negotiated, and it is expected that it could be ratified in late 1998 or early 1999. The first two annexes of
this Protocol deal with priority pollutants, technology and management practices, and the following ones on
specific sources. The inclusion of effluents on the Protocol has been approved but the inclusion of emissions is
still on the table.

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The Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife in the Wider Caribbean Region (SPAW Protocol)
(Kingston, 1990)

The Conference of Plenipotentiaries on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife in the Wider Caribbean Region
was convened in Guadeloupe, October 26-28, 1987, by the Executive Director of the United Nations
Environment Program (UNEP) pursuant to Decision No. 18 of the Fourth Intergovernmental Meeting on the
Action Plan for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region. The
Conference met at Kingston, Jamaica, from January 15 to 18, 1990, at the invitation of the Executive Director of
UNEP.

The protocol is a comprehensive framework for establishing regional cooperation to protect and improve the
state of ecosystems, as well as threatened and endangered species and their habitat in the Wider Caribbean
Region. It contains provisions for the establishment of protected areas, planning and management regimes for
protected areas, establishment of buffer zones, protected areas and buffer zones contiguous to international
boundaries, national and cooperative measures for the protection of wild flora and fauna, introduction of non-
indigenous or genetically altered species, environmental impact assessments, changes in the status of protected
areas or protected species, scientific, technical and management research, mutual assistance and establishment
of common guidelines and criteria.

(Final Act of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife in the Wider
Caribbean Region 1990)

Association of Caribbean States

The Association of Caribbean States was established in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia on June 24, 1994.
Among other issues, it is stated in the preamble that member States are convinced of the vital importance of
preserving the environment at a regional level and particularly the shared responsibility of preserving the
ecological integrity of the Caribbean Sea, by the mobilization of the collective capacities of their people to
develop and sustainable use natural resources, in order to improve the quality of life of present and future
generations of people in the Caribbean.

Among others, one of the functions of the Association is to preserve the environment and natural resources in
the region, particularly the Caribbean Sea.

The Council of Ministers is the principal organ of the association, and determines its policy and orientation.
Among the Special Committees specified in the charter are: the Committee for Conservation and Environmental
Protection and the Committee for Natural Resources.

(D.O.F. 02/05/1995)

2.1.1.7 U.N. Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, New York, 1995 - FAO Code of
Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, Rome 1995

U.N. Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks

In an important step toward implementing some of the principles of UNCLOS, the U.N. Conference on
Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks recently adopted an international agreement on stocks
of fish species that straddle or migrate between EEZs and the high seas or over long distances (the "Straddling
Stocks Agreement"), with the objective of ensuring the "long-term conservation and sustainable use" of these
marine living resources.

The Straddling Stocks Agreement articulates three conservation principles which build upon and strengthen the
conservation requirements of UNCLOS: the precautionary approach, protection of biodiversity in the marine
environment, and sustainable use of fisheries resources.

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The Straddling Stocks Agreement, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1995 and signed by more than 40
nations, calls on participating States to:

- Protect biodiversity in the marine environment.


- Take into account the interest of artisanal and subsistence fishers.
- Adopt measures to ensure the long term sustainability of the fish stocks and promote their optimum utilization.
- Ensure that the measures taken are based on the best scientific evidence available.
- Take account of environmental and economic factors, such as the special requirements of developing States.
- Apply the precautionary approach.
- Adopt an ecosystems approach, whereby dependent or associated species are taken into account.
- Take measures to prevent or eliminate over-fishing and excess fishing capacity.
- Give a high priority to the collection and sharing of data, and
- Implement and enforce conservation and management measures through effective monitoring, surveillance,
and exchange of information.

The Agreement provides for implementation of these principles through regional management arrangements.
For each particular region, and the specific stocks it holds, coastal States and other States with interest in the
stocks are to come together and negotiate among themselves to conduct scientific research, establish TACs,
and agree on enforcement measures. The Straddling Stock Agreement is revolutionary in that it gives
participating States strong enforcement powers. The flag State still has primary jurisdiction over its vessels, but if
it fails to act after being notified of a likely violation, any other State Party to the relevant regional management
arrangement or organization has the right to board and inspect the suspected vessel. The Agreement was
opened for signature at the 50th session of the U.N. General Assembly on December 4, 1995.

(de Fontaubert et al. 1996)

The FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, 1995

The FAO Code of Conduct, which is non-binding, applies UNCLOS-consistent conservation and sustainability
requirements to fisheries for all stocks in all areas of the seas. The Code of Conduct is an important instrument
of "soft international law" that Parties should endorse and implement in order to achieve the goals of the
Biodiversity Convention in the fisheries context.

The Straddling Stocks Agreement and the FAO Code of Conduct were negotiated during approximately the
same period of time and the two are intended to be complementary. The Straddling Stocks Agreement is
intended as a framework for management regimes governing straddling stocks and highly migratory species that
span EEZs and the high seas. The FAO Code of Conduct focuses on the practices of national fishing fleets,
calling on countries to act at the national level. It covers fishing on the high seas, as well as activities within
EEZs, including fishing of stocks exclusively within EEZs. The two instruments refer to one another extensively,
and the full implementation of one will require implementation of the other. The Straddling Stocks Agreement
draws heavily on the technical principles of the Code, but goes further by calling for establishment of strong
regional organizations and arrangements, in which coastal States and distant water fishing States will
collaborate to adopt conservation and management measures for straddling and highly migratory fish stocks.
Both instruments seek to impose greater responsibilities on States whose vessels fish on the high seas.

The Code consists of six thematic articles on Fisheries Management, Fishing Operations, Aquaculture
Development, Integration of Fisheries into Coastal Areas Management, Post-Harvest Practices and Trade, and
Fisheries Research. The Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management
Measures by Vessels Fishing on the High Seas ("the Compliance Agreement") is an integral part of the Code of
Conduct, and technical guidelines are being prepared by the FAO Secretariat in support of the implementation of
the Code. The Code was adopted by the Conference of the FAO in November 1995.

The Code addresses most of the threats to biodiversity from current fisheries practices and explicitly states that it
is designed to be interpreted and applied with due regard to the Biodiversity Convention (FAO Code, Article 3).
The Code, like the Biodiversity Convention, notes that the precautionary approach must guide States in
developing conservation and sustainable use programs when complete information is not available, so that

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conservation and management measures are not postponed or undermined by a lack of complete scientific
certainty.

The FAO Code of Conduct helps address many of the damaging practices discussed above. It calls upon States
to reduce the use of indiscriminate and destructive technologies such as trawls and drift nets, and to eliminate
entirely the use of poisons and explosives. It calls upon States instead to use responsible technologies and
methods, and urges developed countries to share technologies and knowledge with developing nations, with the
aim of maintaining biodiversity and conserving population structures, aquatic ecosystems and fish quality. This
cooperative, uniform approach can also help eliminate competitive impulses to fish unsustainably; if all nations’
fleets are invested in using sustainable technologies and practices, the pressure to cut costs by using short-term,
profit-maximizing destructive technology or practices will be reduced.

The FAO Code of Conduct also calls for the protection of artisanal fisheries. Under the Code, States are to
provide educational and technical assistance to encourage those fishers to shift to more sustainable methods,
where such a shift is necessary. In addition, those fisheries that already are sustainably managed, especially
those that embody traditional practices of local and indigenous communities, are to be protected. Indigenous
management methods may need to be strengthened or modified in order to address the difficulties of modern
fisheries and competition from commercial fishers, but traditional knowledge must not be lost to large-scale
commercial fishing. Customary sea tenure must be respected whenever authorities regulate, manage, or
redistribute fishing rights.

The Code calls on States to reduce overcapitalization by ensuring that investments in fisheries are in proportion
to the value of fishery yields. In addition, Code of Conduct recognizes the need for fisheries management to be
incorporated into a larger scheme of coastal area management, planning and development because of the
effects of land-based activities on marine ecosystems (see also Part II, Action Item I on Integrated Coastal Area
Management). Recognizing the need for a comprehensive management approach, the Code of Conduct
requires States to establish a legislative, administrative and institutional framework within which sustainable
fisheries management will be developed. The FAO Code of Conduct is to be applied by States to fishery
operations by their nationals and by vessels flying their flag, whether within their national jurisdiction, in the
zones of jurisdiction of other States or on the high seas. The FAO is now developing technical guidelines to help
countries implement the Code.

(de Fontaubert et al. 1996)

2.1.1.8 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Washington, 1973, (CITES)

CITES, which has over 125 Parties, seeks to ensure that international trade in animal and plant species, defined
as including subspecies and populations, is sustainable. In periodic Conferences of the Parties, CITES Parties
identify species that are, or may be, threatened by trade, listing them on Appendix I to CITES. They also identify
species that may become threatened unless trade is regulated, listing them on Appendix II. These determinants
are made based on biological criteria and evidence concerning the species' status and threats to their survival.
Specimens of listed species can be traded only with permits from the country of export; Appendix I species must
also have prior permits from the country of import. Commercial trade is forbidden for species listed on Appendix
I. While not banned, trade is strictly regulated for species on Appendix II, and Parties are to monitor trade
impacts and adjust regulation as needed. A number of marine species are listed under CITES. For example, all
species of the order Cetacea (whales and dolphins) and all species of sea turtles are listed under either
Appendix I or Appendix II. A number of species of coral are also listed under CITES.

(de Fontaubert et al. 1996)

Under CITES, Mexico is in charge of maintaining species "at a level consistent with its role in the ecosystem."
There is no single law or regulation, however that directly addresses habitats or ecosystem protection. Such
protection is provided for under different laws (Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995).

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No corals and reef species present in Mexico are included in Appendix I and the following are included in
Appendix II of CITES:

SPECIES COMMON NAME DATE LISTED

Phylum Mollusca
Class Gastropoda
Strombus gigas (Queen conch) (06/11/92)

Phylum Cnidaria (=Coelenterata)


Class Anthozoa (corals, sea anemones)
Order Coenothecalia
All species in the Order except
those in genus with earlier date (01/18/90)

Heliopora spp. (Blue corals) (08/01/85)

Order Stolonifera
Tubiporidae spp.
All species in family except
genus with earlier date (01/18/90)

Tubipora spp. (Organ-pipe corals) (08/01/85)

Order Antipatharia (Black corals)

All species in the Order (06/06/81)


Order Scleractinia (Stony corals)
All species in the Order except the
following genera with earlier date (01/18/90)
Acropora spp. (Staghorn corals) (08/01/85)
Favia spp. (Brain corals) (08/01/85)
Pavona spp. (Cactus corals) (08/01/85)
Pocillopora spp (Brush corals) (08/01/85)

Class Hydrozoa (Sea ferns, Fire corals, Stinging medusae)

Order Milleporina (=Athecata)


Milleporidae spp.
All species in family except genus
with earlier date (01/18/90)
Millepora spp. (Fire corals) (08/01/85)

Order Stylasterina
Stylasteridae spp.
All species in family (01/18/90)

(CITES 1995)

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2.1.1.9 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972 (World
Heritage Convention)

The World Heritage Convention, which has been in force since 1972, has the objective of creating international
support for the protection and maintenance of sites demonstrating outstanding cultural and natural heritage of
universal value. It provides for identification and protection of such sites under international law and encourages
public and official attention to the value and the need to preserve such sites. Each of the 146 Parties to the
World Heritage Convention assumes an obligation to identify, protect, conserve and transmit to future
generations its unique cultural heritage, and natural heritage. In addition, the World Heritage Commission selects
sites nominated by Parties to be placed on the World Heritage List. The criteria for selecting sites were revised in
1994 to provide for identification of sites that are the most important and significant natural habitats for in situ
conservation of biological diversity. The World Heritage Convention provides for identification of World Heritage
Sites within the "territory" of its Parties. Thus, while Parties may nominate Sites within their internal and territorial
waters, it is unclear whether Sites can be identified within Parties' EEZs.

The World Heritage Convention was ahead of its time in setting up a multilateral fund, the World Heritage Fund,
to finance protection of World Heritage Sites in developing country Parties. However, the amount of funding
contributed by developed countries has been minimal, generally amounting to between US$2 and 3 million per
year.

Measures under the World Heritage Convention are related to the obligations of States under the CBD to identify
and protect ecosystems of particular importance. In encompassing both natural and cultural heritage, and
providing for identification of sites rich in biological diversity, the World Heritage Convention implicitly recognizes
that biodiversity's cultural as well as natural values are important, consistent with the Preamble of the CBD,
which recognizes the many values of biodiversity including its cultural value.

One useful step that Parties to both Conventions could take would be to review and augment their national
inventories and protective measures for natural and cultural heritage in light of the CBD's call for national
inventories of biodiversity, the 1994 revision to the World Heritage Convention, and the developing awareness of
the value of biodiversity for humanity.

(de Fontaubert, et al. 1996)

In Mexico only two Natural Sites have been included in the World Heritage List, out of the sixteen designated
Mexican sites. The first is the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve which contains important coral reef habitats
bordering its coasts, and the second one is the Whale Sanctuary in the Vizcaino Lagoons, in the Vizcaino
Biosphere Reserve. The Belize Barrier Reef located south of the Mexican Caribbean Reef System has also been
included in the List.

2.1.1.10 Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat, Ramsar,


1971 (Ramsar Convention)

The Ramsar Convention, which has been in force since 1975 and has been ratified by 93 Parties, aims to stem
the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands, now and in the future. While Ramsar focuses on
wetlands that are important for migratory waterfowl, it recognizes the overall values of wetlands, including their
fundamental ecological functions and their economic, cultural, scientific and recreational value. Ramsar defines
wetlands broadly to include freshwater, brackish and saltwater marshes, including marine waters up to six
meters deep at low tide, and any deeper marine waters contained within the wetland area, as well as adjacent
islands and coastal areas.

The Ramsar Convention Parties are to designate at least one national wetland of international importance; many
Parties have designated more than one. Designation of these areas should be an element of the process of
identifying priority components of biodiversity under Article of Convention (see Part II, Action Item 6). Under
Ramsar, Parties are also required to establish wetlands nature reserves and cooperate in the exchange of
information for wetlands management, obligations that are consistent with the obligations to establish marine
protected areas and cooperate on scientific and technical matters under the CBD. Ramsar also requires Parties
to assess the impacts of any changes in use on identified wetland sites, which is consistent with the CBD's
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requirement in Article 14 that Parties establish environmental impact assessment procedures. Finally, Ramsar
requires Parties to take responsibility for conservation, management and wise use of migratory stocks of
waterfowl, an approach that is also taken in Annex I of the CBD, which identifies ecosystems necessary to
migratory species as being potentially important for purposes of conservation priorities.

(de Fontaubert et al. 1996)

Mexico has designated only one site to the Ramsar Convention, the Zona de Refugio Faunístico (zone for faunal
refuge) Ria Lagartos, Yucatan. This area does not contain reef habitat in its present state, but might do so if
planned expansions to include marine habitats are approved. Mexico is also nominating two biosphere reserves
for inclusion in RAMSAR; La Encrucijada, Chis. and Alto Golfo de California y delta del Rio Colorado, Son., B.C.

2.1.1.11 Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) - Subcommission of the Intergovernmental


Oceanographic Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (IOCARIBE)

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)

The IOC is an instrument within the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
whose ultimate purpose is to: "Further scientific research on the oceans, through studies of its natural processes
and living organisms in order to gain deeper understanding." The IOC is the acting coordinator for the United
Nations System on Ocean Sciences.

Objectives for the IOC are:

- Define the problems for the development of solutions necessitating international cooperation within the realm of
oceanographic research.
- Prepare, advice and coordinate international programs for scientific research of the oceans, services related to
the programs, strengthen education, development and technology, and coordinated action of its member states.
- Develop cooperative scientific research, global oceanic services and educational, development and mutual
assistance programs.

Mexico’s National Institute of Ecology takes part in the CONALMEX (The National Mexican Commission) as the
representing party for the IOC which determines the guidelines for the Mexican Delegation to the IOC meetings.

(pers. comm. INE/Tenorio 1997)

Subcommission of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent
Regions (IOCARIBE)

IOCARIBE was created in 1984 in order to promote and develop regional cooperation for marine sciences.
Twenty-two Member States from the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas and the Mid-Western Region
of the Atlantic Ocean participate in IOCARIBE.

IOCARIBE's objectives are:

-To define regional problems and through international cooperation, present solutions.
-To facilitate the exchange of scientific data and information and the transfer of technological innovations.
-To determine the needs for training, education and public assistance.
-To present recommendations to the IOC and cooperate with the United Nations Subsidiary Organizations.

IOCARIBE's Plan of Action (1990-1995) is comprised of three fields: oceanic sciences, oceanic related services
and development, and guidance and public assistance for marine affairs.

(pers. comm. INE/Tenorio 1997)

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2.1.1.12 North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation - Commission for Environmental


Cooperation, 1994

North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation

The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) subscribed by Canada, Mexico and the
United States, came into effect January 1, 1994, at the same time as the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA). The Agreement incorporates and complements environmental provisions contained in NAFTA, and in
general terms aims to protect, preserve and improve environmental conditions in North America (CCA Undated).

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is an international organization whose members include
Canada, Mexico and the United States. The CEC was created under the North American Agreement for
Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) to address regional environmental concerns, help prevent potential trade
and environmental conflicts and to promote the effective enforcement of environmental laws. The Agreement
complements the environmental provisions established in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The CEC Mission Statement States that the CEC “facilitates cooperation and public participation to foster
conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment for the benefit of present and
future generations, in the context of increasing economic trade and social links between Canada, Mexico and the
United States”.

Under Article 14 of the NAAEC, the CEC Secretariat may consider a submission from any non-governmental
organization or person asserting that a Party to the NAAEC is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law.
When the Secretariat determines that the Article 14 (1) criteria are met, it shall then determine whether the
submission merits requesting a response from the Party named in the submission under Article 14 (2). In light of
any response provided by that Party, the Secretariat may recommend to the Council that a factual record be
prepared, in accordance with Article 15. The Council comprised of the environmental ministers (or their
equivalent) of Canada, Mexico and the U.S., may then instruct the Secretariat to prepare a factual record on the
submission. The final factual record is made publicly available upon a 2/3 vote of the Council.

Per section 15 of the Guidelines, the Secretariat has established a registry to provide information so that any
interested organization or person, may follow the status of any given submission during the submission process
envisaged under Articles 14 and 15 of the NAAEC.

(Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org 1995)

The first instance where the provisions of Article 14 (1) were met, and the responses by the Party and factual
record integration process were initiated, dealt with the construction of a Cruise Ship Pier in Isla Cozumel, within
the limits of the Costa Occidental de Isla Cozumel Refuge Zone for the Protection of Marine Flora and Fauna Q.
Roo, an area designated as a non-fishery, non-extractive zone.

Part V deals with Party to Party Disputes that can potentially result in trade sanctions.

2.1.1.13 Tuxtla I and Tuxtla II Agreements on Cooperation between Mexico and the Central American
Region - Central American Commission on the Environment and Development - Mesoamerican
Biological Corridor

Through meetings held between the Mexican and other Central American Presidents, the Mexican Government
has participated in a project of regional cooperation of outstanding proportions. These meetings named Tuxtla,
manifest a dynamic version to address matters of regional importance between Mexico and Central America.
Within this framework, the following issues are related to regional cooperation in environmental matters:

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Tuxtla I

The first meeting between the Mexican President and the Presidents of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras and Nicaragua was held in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, hence the name Tuxtla Meeting, on January 10
and 11, 1991.

One of the objectives of the meeting was to declare Central America a peaceful, free, democratic and developing
region. In order to achieve this status of stability and aid the recovering neighboring countries on the road to
development, cooperation as well as greater support from the international community for the region must be
enhanced.

Tuxtla II

On February 16, 1996, the President of Mexico gathered with the Presidents of seven Central American
countries, including Panama and the Prime Minister of Belize, resulting in the Joint Declaration of the Chiefs of
State of the Central American and Mexican Governments "Tuxtla II". Point XVIII from the "Plan of Action" deals
with the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries. Within this context, SEMARNAP and the National
Institute of Ecology contracted obligations to cooperate in the fields of: environmental zoning, environmental
impact, biodiversity and climate change.

Cooperative obligations have been fulfilled, and include projects such as the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor,
the Mesoamerican Caribbean Reef System and actions relevant to ecotourism in the region.

Central American Commission on the Environment and Development (CCAD)

The Central American Commission on the Environment and Development is a Central American regional
organization responsible for the environment within the region. Since its Sixth Regular Meeting in June of 1991
(as of the end of 1997 there have been 23 meetings), Mexico has been an observing participant and through the
agreement signed on June 1991, has also been the instrument for the National Institute of Ecology regional
environmental cooperation. Since then, Mexico has participated in different events and regional meetings related
to the environment organized by the CCAD.

The most recent activity concerning this matter was the XVIII Regular Meeting of the CCAD, which took place in
Mexico City. In this meeting, on October 6, 1995, SEMARNAP and the Secretaries of the Environment of the
seven Central American countries signed the Joint Mexico-Central American Declaration, to promote,
consolidate, and instrument policies to promote sustainable development, conservation, rational use of natural
resources and protection for the region's environment.

The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor

Faced with the urgency to stop destruction and loss of biodiversity within the Mesoamerican region, in Managua,
Nicaragua, June 1992, the XII Regional Summit of Presidents of Central America, signed the Agreement for
Biodiversity in Central America, which calls for the development of a Central American Council of Protected
Areas, within the framework of the Commission on Environment and Development in Central America. The
CCAD would coordinate regional efforts that would harmonize policies to develop a Regional System of
Protected Areas and create a Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

Following the Tuxtla II meeting, and in the interest of the Commission on Environmental and Development in
Central America, Mexico was incorporated into to the "Mesoamerican Regional System of Protected Areas,
Buffer Zones and Biological Corridors" project (Mesoamerican Biological Corridor).

The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor's principal objective is to avoid the deterioration and loss of biodiversity,
through conservation of representative samples of the region's environments, preventing the fragmentation of
ecosystems with the conformation of a set of interconnected areas that would permit: the possibility of genetic

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and biological interchange between fragmented populations; the continuity of biological processes; and the
integration of these areas within a regional planning process oriented towards sustainable development.

(pers. comm. INE/Tenorio 1997)

Within this context the Yucatan Peninsula biological connectors system aims to achieve the same objectives at a
subregional level. In the marine context, the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor is being implemented through
the Mesoamerican Caribbean Coral Reef Systems Initiative.

2.1.1.14 Mesoamerican Caribbean Coral Reef Systems Initiative

Within the context of the International Year of the Reef (1997), on June 5, 1997, the “Tulum Declaration” was
signed by the First minister of Belize an the Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico in order to adopt
the “Mesoamerican Caribbean Coral Reef Systems Initiative”, whose goal is to promote conservation and
sustainable use of coral reef systems shared by these four nations.

An action plan is being designed to jointly promote scientific research, education to create constituency,
reduction of pollution from land sources, information interchange and sustainable financing mechanisms. This
initiative offers at the end of the millennium, the framework for one of the most viable and transcendental
opportunities on the planet for carrying out a multinational conservation effort.

2.1.2 National Legislation

All Mexican legislation is based on the Political Constitution of the United States of Mexico. There are many
articles within the Constitution that derive into a set of Laws, Regulations, Decrees, Secretarial Dictates
(acuerdos) and Official Mexican Norms, that constitute, as a whole, the body of Mexico's environmental
legislation, but the single most important base is contained within Article 27, which states that property of land
and waters corresponds originally to the Nation, who has the right to transfer it, creating private property.
Nevertheless, the Nation maintains the right to impose on private property the modalities that public interest
dictates, and also to regulate the appropriation of natural resources based on the interest of society.

Agencies Responsible for Coastal and Marine Management

Diario Oficial de la Federación (D.O.F.) 12/28/94


Decreto que reforma, adiciona y deroga diversas disposiciones de la Ley Orgánica de la Administración Pública
Federal
(D.O.F. Official Journal of the Federation, roughly equivalent to Federal Register)

By means of the Organic Law of Public Federal Administration, the Secretariat of the Environment, Natural
Resources and Fisheries (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca - SEMARNAP) was
created as the Federal Government's agency responsible for the aspects expressed in its name.

Other Federal agencies have jurisdiction over different aspects related to coastal and marine ecosystem
management: the Navy Secretariat (Secretaría de Marina), the Transportation and Communications Secretariat
(Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes), the Tourism Secretariat (Secretaría de Turismo), the
Governance Secretariat (Secretaría de Gobernación), and the Health Secretariat. The first three mentioned
secretariats functions will be discussed with more detail further in this document. The Governance Secretariat
has jurisdiction over federal islands and cays and should play an important role in island ecosystems, having
jurisdiction mainly on terrestrial issues. The Health Secretariat has jurisdiction over pollution issues that can
affect the health of the population.

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D.O.F. 08/07/1996
Reglamento Interior de la Secretaría de Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca

The Internal Regulations of SEMARNAP specify functions of the following administrative units that have
jurisdiction over different aspects related to coastal and marine ecosystem management:

Undersecretariat of Natural Resources


Federal marine-coastal zone, soil conservation, forestry.
Undersecretariat of Fisheries
Fisheries management, aquaculture and fisheries infrastructure.
National Water Commission (CNA)
Water management.
National Institute of Ecology (INE)
Protected areas, wildlife management, pollution control, environmental zoning and environmental
impact assessment.
National Institute of Fisheries (INP)
Fisheries research.
Federal Attorney for the Protection of the Environment (PROFEPA)
Enforcement of environmental law.

2.1.2.1 Environmental Legislation

Mexico has no single law that regulates biological diversity or wildlife. Protection and management of wildlife
regulations are instead established in four central pieces of legislation: the General Law of Ecological Balance
and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y Protección al Ambiente hereinafter
Ecology Law); the Federal Hunting Law (Ley Federal de Caza); and the Federal Fisheries Law (Ley Federal de
Pesca) and the Regulation to the Federal Fisheries Law (Reglamento de la Ley Federal de Pesca). The Official
Mexican Standard (Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM)) NOM-059-ECOL-1994 which establishes lists of more than
2,150 endangered and threatened species and measures for their protection (Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org,
1995).

D.O.F. 29/01/1988
D.O.F. 13/12/1996
Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente.

The General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (hereinafter Ecology Law) was recently
amended and is divided into six Titles.

Title l sets forth general provisions, jurisdiction and powers of municipal, state and federal governments,
environmental policy and its instruments.

Title II deals with biodiversity and establishes procedures for developing and managing protected areas and
provides general policies for environmental restoration, and wildlife (flora and fauna) management.

Title III governs the rational use of natural elements and sets forth the general environmental provisions
regulating sustainable use of aquatic ecosystems, soil, and nonrenewable resources.

Title IV, entitled Environmental Protection, sets forth general standards governing pollution on seven media-
specific areas which include: the atmosphere; water and aquatic ecosystems; soil; ultra-hazardous activities;
hazardous waste and materials; nuclear energy; and noise, vibration, thermal energy, light, odors and visual
pollution.

Title V creates policies to promote public participation.

Title VI establishes administrative inspection procedures, enforcement actions, the application of sanctions,
environmental crimes, and a system for popular complaints.

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The Ecology Law sets forth fourteen broad principles that serve as the basis for national environmental
protection policies and goals.

The most important goal established under the Ecology Law is that of ecological balance, defined as the
"interdependent relationship between the elements that comprise the environment and that make all human,
plant and animal existence, transformation and development possible."

Environmental Policy Instruments are also created as a series of administrative and participatory tools which
include: environmental planning, environmental zoning (POE), economical instruments, environmental regulation
of human settlements, environmental impact assessments (EIA), environmental official Mexican norms (NOM),
autoregulation and environmental audits, research and environmental education.

The Ecology Law is complemented by a number of media-specific laws and regulations in the area of; water,
occupational health and safety; pesticides, fertilizers and toxic substances; fisheries; forestry; hunting; mining;
agriculture; energy; and transportation of hazardous materials.

(Updated and modified from Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org 1995)

2.1.2.1.1. Ecological Zoning Program

Ecological Zoning Programs (Programas de Ordenamiento Ecológico del Territorio - POE) are based on the
Mexican Constitution and the Ecology Law. A POE is an instrument of environmental policy whose objective is to
induce land use and productive activities, towards the protection of the environment and sustainable use of
natural resources. Four different types of POEs are contemplated in the Ecology Law; General (national level),
Regional (part of a state, a state or more than one state), local (municipalities) and marine. Marine POEs are
part of the additions to the Environmental Law and belong within the sphere of Federal Jurisdiction.

Ecological Zoning Programs have the potential of becoming the main tool to unify diverse criteria and convoke
the different actors that need to be involved in an integrated coastal zone management strategy. The following
list includes all POEs subscribed up through September 1997. All of them go as far as the coast, but most of
them "do not go into the sea".

P.O.G.E.N. 11/04/1992
Plan Director de Desarrollo Urbano y Ecología del Municipio de Bahía de Banderas, Nay.
POE published as an Urban Development Plan (PDU) for the Municipality of Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit.
Includes marine zones such as Islas Marietas.

P.O.G.E.C 28/08/1993
Ordenamiento Ecológico Estatal de Colima, Col.
POE for the State of Colima, mainly terrestrial.

P.O.G.Q.R 09/06/1994 D.O.F. 26/10/1994


Acuerdo de Coordinación para el Ordenamiento Ecológico de la región denominada Corredor Cancún-Tulum,
Quintana Roo.
POE for the Cancun-Tulum Touristic Corridor. Includes six Marine Management Units specifically designed for
coral reef conservation and 15 environmental criteria applicable to these units.

P.O.G.Q.R 30/11/1994 D.O.F. 05/06/1996


Acuerdo de Coordinación para el Ordenamiento Ecológico de la región denominada Sistema Lagunar Nichupté,
Cancún, Quintana Roo.
POE for the Nichupte Lagoon System in Cancun. Includes one Marine Management Unit specifically designed
for coral reef conservation and two environmental criteria applicable to these units.

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B.O.G.E.B.C.S. 31/08/1995
Plan de Ordenamiento Ecológico para el Desarrollo Urbano y Turístico del Municipio de los Cabos, Baja
California Sur.
POE for the Los Cabos Municipality. Includes environmental criteria such as K-14 that states that; Due to the
importance of Cabo Pulmo and in order to protect the rocky zone adjacent to the reef, the area is proposed as a
natural monument.

P.O.G.E.B.C. 02/06/1995
Ordenamiento Ecológico del Corredor Turístico Tijuana-Ensenada, Baja California.
POE for the Tijuana Ensenada Touristic Corridor, mainly terrestrial.

P.O.G.E.B.C. 08/09/1995
Ordenamiento Ecológico Estatal de Baja California.
POE for the State of Baja California, mainly terrestrial.

P.O.G.E = Periódico Oficial del Gobierno del Estado


B.O.G.E = Boletín Oficial del Gobierno del Estado
Equivalent to State Registers.

Ecological Zoning Programs in progress, related to coastal zones with coral reef ecosystems include; Bahía de
la Paz, B.C.S., State of Sonora, Son., Northcentral and Southcentral Coast of Sinaloa, Sin., Northern Coast of
Nayarit, Nay, Coast of Jalisco, Jal., Coast of Oaxaca, Oax., Huatulco, Oax. for the Pacific Ocean coast and
Cozumel, Q. Roo, Sian Ka'an, Q. Roo and Costa Maya, Q. Roo. There are no POEs in progress for Veracruz
and Yucatan and in Campeche only Laguna de Términos POE is in progress. The first marine POE for Mexico
under the modified Ecological Law is being executed for the Gulf of California. (pers. comm. INE/Medina)

2.1.2.1.2 Protected Areas

Protected areas constitute an important part of the Mexican strategy to protect biodiversity. Protected areas in
Mexico are conceptualized to a certain extent as multiple use zones, where activities are limited by the
thresholds imposed by sustainable use of natural resources. In this respect, protected areas are not isolated
from the national economy, but participate to enhance and consolidate Mexico's economy within the limits
imposed by the environment and not the economy.

The present Ecology Law considers as management categories for protected areas that can include marine
habitats; biosphere reserves, national parks, natural monuments, areas for the protection of flora and fauna and
sanctuaries. To this respect some of the legal management categories described below, will need to be
adjusted, as stipulated by the law.

Article 97 of the Ecology Law establishes that SEMARNAP will establish nurseries, breeding facilities and
"species reserves" for aquatic flora and fauna, creating among with the Fisheries Law "fisheries reserves and
refuge zones" that will be discussed later, two other "de facto" categories for marine protected areas.

2.1.2.1.2.1 Protected Areas Established for the Conservation of Coral Reefs

A total of nine protected areas have been established or modified specifically for the protection of coral reefs on
Mexican waters.

These include one on the Pacific Ocean, two on the Gulf of Mexico and six in the Caribbean Sea.

2.1.2.1.2.1.1 Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California. (Map 1)

D.O.F. 06/06/1995 7,111 Ha.


Parque Marino Nacional Cabo Pulmo, Baja California Sur.
San Diegan Neritic Province, Gulf Cape Subprovince
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2.1.2.1.2.1.2 Gulf of Mexico (Map 2)

D.O.F. 28/07/1975 114.2 Ha.


Zona de Refugio de Flora y Fauna Marinas La Blanquilla, Veracruz.

D.O.F. 24/08/1992 52,238 Ha.


Parque Marino Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano, Veracruz.
Gulf of Mexico Neritic Province, Veracruzan Subprovince
D.O.F. 25/11/1995
Decree modified in order to include fishing of mollusc species within the park.

D.O.F. 06/06/1994 333,768 Ha.


Parque Marino Nacional Arrecife Alacranes, Yucatan.
Gulf of Mexico Neritic Province, Campeche Bank Subprovince

2.1.2.1.2.1.3 Caribbean Sea (Maps 3 and 4)

D.O.F. 08/02/1961 230 Ha.


Zona de Reserva Natural y Refugio de la Fauna Isla Contoy, Q.Roo
(Terrestrial)
D.O.F. 5,148 Ha.
Parque Nacional Isla Contoy, Quintana Roo
Caribbean Neritic Subprovince, Contoyan Subprovince

D.O.F. 07/02/73
Zona de Refugio de Flora y Fauna Marina Costa Occidental de Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc,
Quintana Roo.
D.O.F. 19/07/1996 8,673 Ha.
Parque Marino Nacional Costa Occidental de Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc, Quintana Roo.
Caribbean Neritic Subprovince, Cancunean Subprovince

D.O.F. 10,828 Ha.


Parque Nacional Arrecife de Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo
Caribbean Neritic Subprovince, Cancunean Subprovince

D.O.F. 11/06/1980
Zona de Refugio de Flora y Fauna Marina Costa Occidental de Isla Cozumel, Quintana Roo.
D.O.F. 19/07/1996 11,987 Ha.
Parque Marino Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel, Quintana Roo. Caribbean Oceanic Province

D.O.F. 20/01/1986 155,360 Ha. (marine)


Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka'an, Quintana Roo.
D.O.F. 34,920 Ha.
Reserva de la Biosfera Arrecifes de Sian Ka'an, Quintana Roo.
Caribbean Neritic Province, Sian Ka'anean Subprovince and Caribbean Oceanic Province

D.O.F. 19/07/1996 144,360 Ha.


Reserva de la Biosfera Banco Chinchorro, Quintana Roo.
Caribbean Oceanic Province

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Map 1.

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Map 2.

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Map 3.

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Map 4.

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2.1.2.1.2.2 Other Protected Areas that Include Coral Communities

A total of nine protected areas have been established in Mexico for other conservation objectives, but which also
include or might include coral communities. These consist of seven located on the Pacific Ocean, one on the Gulf
of Mexico and one in the Caribbean Sea.

2.1.2.1.2.2.1 Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California (Map 1)

D.O.F. 02/08/1978
Zona de Reserva y Refugio de Aves Migratorias y de la Fauna Silvestre Islas del Golfo de California. (only
terrestrial)
Isla San Luis (Gonzaga), Baja California Norte
Isla Las Animas (Anima), Baja California Norte
Isla San José, Baja California Sur
Isla San Francisco, Baja California Sur (not enumerated, but included by the decree)
Isla Espíritu Santo, Baja California Sur
Isla Ballenas, Baja California Sur (not enumerated, but included by the decree)
Isla Cerralvo, Baja California Sur
Cortezian Neritic Province, Salsipuedes, Southcalifornian and Cape Gulf Subprovinces

D.O.F. 02/08/1978
Zona de Reserva y Refugio de Aves Migratorias y de la Fauna Silvestre Islas del Golfo de California. (only
terrestrial)
D.O.F. 19/07/1996
Parque Marino Nacional Bahia de Loreto. (Marine and Z.F.M.T)
Islas Coronado, Baja California Sur
Isla del Carmen, Baja California Sur
Cortezian Neritic Province, Southcalifornian Subprovince

D.O.F. 29/11/1973
Zona de Refugio Submarino de Flora y Fauna y Condiciones Ecológicas del Fondo Cabo San Lucas, Baja
California Sur. San Diegan Neritic Province, Cape-Pacific Subprovince

D.O.F. 14/09/1937
Reserva de Caza Cajón del Diablo, Sonora.
Cortezian Neritic Province, Sonoran Subprovince

D.O.F. 08/12/1980
Parque Nacional Isla Isabel, Nayarit.
Cortezian Neritic Province, Islas Marias/Isla Isabel Subprovince

D.O.F. 28/07/1975
Zona de Refugio para la Protección de Flora y Fauna Marinas Los Arcos, Jalisco
Mexican Neritic Province, Jalisco Oaxacan Subprovince

D.O.F. 06/06/1994
Reserva de la Biosfera Archipiélago de las Revillagigedo
Northern Mexican Pacific Oceanic Province

2.1.2.1.2.2.2 Gulf of Mexico (Map 2)

D.O.F. 06/06/1994
Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Yum Balam, Quintana Roo.
Gulf of Mexico Neritic Province, Yucatecan Subprovince

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2.1.2.1.2.2.3 Caribbean Sea (Maps 3 and 4)

P.O.G.E.Q.R. 26/09/1983 (State PS)


Parque Natural Laguna de Chankanaab, Quintana Roo.
Caribbean Oceanic Province

2.1.2.1.3 Official Mexican Norms

D.O.F. 19/05/1994
Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-059-ECOL-1994, que determina las especies de flora y fauna silvestres terrestres
y acuáticas en peligro de extinción, amenazadas, raras y las sujetas a protección especial y que establece
especificaciones para su protección.

This Official Mexican Norm establishes determines the status of flora and fauna species and specifies measures
to protect them. Threatened and endangered species are regulated under the general terms of the Ecology Law,
and also under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),
to which Mexico is a Party. NOM-059-ECOL-94 establishes lists of plants and fungi, mammals, birds, reptiles,
amphibians, fishes and invertebrates classified as either endangered, threatened with extinction, rare or under
special protection.

All use and development of rare, threatened and endangered species requires special permission from the
Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries Secretariat (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y
Pesca (SEMARNAP). Listed species may be collected for scientific, growing and preservation purposes in
quantities specified by the SEMARNAP. Use, development and possession of endangered and threatened
species for commercial purposes may occur only on the condition that they be reproduced in a controlled
environment for repopulating purposes. Rare and specially protected species used for commercial purposes are
subject to tariffs established according to population studies. Commercial development of the listed species
habitats must occur in a manner that ensures their conservation. Sanctions for violation to NOM-059-ECOL-94
can arise under the relevant provisions of the Ecology Law, Federal Fisheries Law (Ley Federal de Pesca),
Federal Hunting Law, and the Penal Code for the Federal District in Common Matters and for the Entire Republic
in Federal Matters (Código Penal para el Distrito Federal en Materia Común y para toda la República en Materia
Federal).

(Updated and modified from Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995)


The norm specifies the following coral species with the status of special protection:

Acropora cervicornis
Acropora palmata
Antipathes bichitoena
Antipathes grandis
Antipathes ules
Plexaura dichotoma
Plexaura homomalla

Note: Apparently none of the Antipathes species specified in the norm have been registered in Mexico and the
ones present are not covered by the Norm (pers. comm. Padilla 1997).

D.O.F. 27/10/97
Acuerdo que establece la clasificación y codificación mercancías cuya importación y exportación está sujeta a
regulación por parte de la Secretaría de Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca

This Secretarial Dictate establishes merchandise whose importation or exportation is subject to regulations by
SEMARNAP. Article 5 establishes the classification and codification of species’ related products and subproducts,
mentioned in Article 4 of the Agreement, whose introduction within the national territory is subject to presenting an

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import certificate issued by the National Institute of Ecology, and a visual inspection within the terms highlighted in
Article 9 of the Agreement, only when their destination point coincides with custom’s regulations for final,
temporary or fiscal deposit importation, included in the tariff fractions of the General Importing Tax Law on Tariffs,
mentioning: 0508.00.01 Corals.

Article 7 establishes the classification and codification of species related products and subproducts, mentioned in
Article 6 of the Agreement, whose introduction within the national territory is subject to presenting an export
certificate issued by the National Institute of Ecology, and a visual inspection within the terms highlighted in Article
9 of the Agreement, only when their destination point coincides with custom’s regulations for final, temporary or
fiscal deposit exportation, included in the tariff fractions of the General Exporting Tax Law on Tariffs, indicating:
0508.00 Coral and similar materials, raw or simply prepared, not including any other workmanship; valves and
mollusc carapaces, crustaceans or echinoderms, and cuttle fishbone, raw or simply prepared, without trimmings,
its powder or remains.

2.1.2.1.4 Coastal and Marine Pollution Legislation

Ocean pollution control provisions are dispersed among a variety of laws and regulations. The Federal Oceans
Law (Ley Federal del Mar) provides generally that all prevention, reduction, and control of ocean pollution is to be
regulated under the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio
Ecológico y Protección al Ambiente) (hereinafter Ecology Law), the National Waters Law (Ley de Aguas
Nacionales), the Regulation to the National Waters Law (Reglamento de la Ley de Aguas Nacionales), the
General Health Law (Ley General de Salud), and their implementing regulations. The Official Mexican Standards
(Normas Oficiales Mexicanas (NOM)) also apply to wastewater discharges into the oceans.

D.O.F. 23/01/1979
Reglamento para prevenir y controlar la contaminación del mar por vertimiento de desechos y otras materias.

Although the Regulation to Prevent and Control Ocean Pollution from the Dumping of Wastes and Other Materials
(hereinafter Ocean Dumping Regulation) precedes both the Ecology Law and the current National Waters Law
and its Regulation, it has been incorporated into the general environmental regulatory regime and remains valid.
The Secretariat of the Navy administers and enforces the Ocean Dumping Regulation in the exclusive economic
zone, the territorial seas, and the maritime fishing zones. Under the Ocean Dumping Regulation any individual or
legal entity, including ocean vessels, platforms and airplanes, that deliberately dumps substances in the ocean
must obtain a permit from the Secretariat of the Navy. In addition, the Regulation includes three Annexes which
provide lists of chemicals and characteristics that must be taken into consideration by the Secretariat of the Navy
when granting such permits. Annexes I and II identify specific chemicals that require "special consideration" when
dumping authorization is requested. The Ocean Dumping Regulation also provides a number of exceptions to the
dumping permit requirement: (1) where there exists an imminent danger to human life or the safety of any sea or
air vessel; (2) where illegal dumping activities occur without knowledge of the owner of the sea vessel; and (3)
when dredging activities occur with the intent to facilitate navigation or preserve the marine ecological balance.
These exceptions will completely absolve a vessel owner and the crew from liability unless their own negligence
gave rise to the dangerous circumstances. (Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995)

D.O.F. 29/01/1988
D.O.F. 13/12/1996
Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección del Ambiente

The General Law for Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (Ecology Law) sets forth pollution
control guidelines that apply generally to all aquatic ecosystems, which include oceans. The central principle
guiding water pollution is prevention. The Ecology Law also establishes jurisdiction over ocean pollution control
issues and provides a framework for the regulation of wastewater discharges. The Environment, Natural
Resources and Fisheries Secretariat (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca -
SEMARNAP), in conjunction with the Secretariat of the Navy (Secretaría de Marina - SEMAR), is responsible for

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establishing the permit regime and standards for all wastewater discharges into the ocean. Administration and
enforcement of pollution control measures and the preservation and restoration of marine ecosystems also
belong to SEMARNAP, in coordination with the Secretariat of Communications and Transport (Secretaría de
Comunicaciones y Transportes - SCT), and the Secretariats of Health, Energy, and the Navy (Secretarías de
Salud, Energía y Marina). The Ecology Law reserves to the Federal Executive the power to issue specific
environmental criteria for any exploitation, conservation and administration of marine natural resources in the
exclusive economic zone.

Any ocean pollution that contravenes the general provisions under the Ecology Law could be subject to
administrative fines or penalties provided therein. These include: (1) fines ranging from twenty to twenty thousand
times the daily minimum wage of the Federal District on the day on which the sanctions are imposed; (2)
temporary, final, partial and/or total plant closure; or (3) administrative arrest up to thirty-six hours. (Internet:
http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995)

D.O.F. 01/12/1992
Ley de Aguas Nacionales
D.O.F. 12/01/1994
Reglamento de la Ley de Aguas Nacionales

The National Waters Law and its implementing Regulation require all continuous, intermittent or unforeseen
wastewater discharges to be authorized by SEMARNAP. The Regulation to the National Waters Law includes all
"marine zones" in its definition of a wastewater receiving body. The SEMARNAP (through the National
Commission for Water - Comisión Nacional del Agua - CONAGUA) also has administrative power, together with
the Naval Secretariat over all wastewater discharges into oceans from mobile sources and fixed platforms. The
Official Mexican Standards (Normas Oficiales Mexicanas (NOM)) also apply to wastewater discharges into the
oceans.

Under the National Waters Law and its Regulation, illegal or unauthorized wastewater discharges into the ocean
are subject to fines ranging between 100 to 10,000 times the daily minimum wage in the area in which the
violation occurs. In addition, SEMARNAP has the authority to enjoin all activities that cause the unauthorized
discharge, revoke any discharge permits or close the discharging facility. (Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995)

D.O.F. 08/01/1982, 12/02/1982, 24/03/1982, 07/02/1994, 21/01/1995, 25/05/1987, 03/01/1992 y 29/07/1994


Ley General de Bienes Nacionales
The National Property Law requires that all consignees of national property, which includes oceans, prevent
damage to the ecosystem (Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995).
D.O.F. 02/12/1989
Acuerdo por el que se establecen los Criterios Ecológicos de Calidad del Agua CE-CCA-OO1/89

This Secretarial Dictate established ecological criteria for determining water quality on 128 inorganic, organic,
microbiological and radioactive parameters, 95 of which were applicable to protection of aquatic life in coastal and
marine waters. It also included water quality parameters for aquacultural activities. This regulation was not
reviewed under the process established by the General Law on Metrology and Standardization (Ley General de
Metrología y Normalización) that requires the expedition of Mexican Official Norms (Normas Oficiales Mexicanas -
NOM), which de-facto devoids it from its legal status (pers. comm., INE/Avila). Nevertheless, it constitutes the
only legal precedent that establishes water quality standards for the protection of aquatic life in coastal and
marine waters, instead of parameters on the maximum limit of pollutants that can be permitted for discharging,
which the NOMs specify.

D.O.F. 06/01/1997
Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-001-ECOL-1996, Que establece los límites máximos permisibles de contaminantes
en descargas de aguas residuales en aguas y bienes nacionales.
D.O.F.30/04/1997
Aclaración a la NOM-001-ECOL-1996

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This Official Mexican Norm establishes limits (Table 3) for discharging residual water effluents into coastal waters
This Norm does not specify parameters for other nutrients, which for coral reefs can affect the natural balance
between corals and algae to favor algae:

Table 3.

Coastal Waters
Parameters Fisheries Recreation
(milligrams per Navigation
liter except & other uses
where specified)
PM PD PM PD PM= Daily average
PD=Monthly average
Temperature °C 40 40 40 40 Instantaneous
Greases and oils 15 25 15 25 Average
Floating matter none none MNX-AA-006
Sedimentable solids ml/l 1 2 1 2
Total suspended solids 150 200 75 125
Biochemical oxygen demand 150 200 75 150
Total nitrogen N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A.
Total phosphorus N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A.
Arsenic 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.4
Cadmium 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.4
Cyanide 1 2 2 3
Copper 4 6 4 6
Mercury 0.01 0.02 0.01 0.02
Nickel 2 4 2 4
Lead 0.02 0.04 0.5 1
Zinc 10 20 10 20
PH units 5 -10
Fecal coliforms 1,000 - 2,000 (MPN x 100 ml)

2.1.2.2 Fisheries Legislation

Under Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, all ocean flora and fauna originally belong to the Nation as part of its
ownership rights over all territorial seas and ocean resources.

All of the criteria and policies relating to protection and management of (land) fauna (fauna silvestre) under the
Ecology Law (Ley de Ecología) apply to ocean fisheries as well. Aquatic flora and fauna, defined together, include
all biological species or biogenetic elements that live temporarily, partially or permanently in national waters or
territorial seas over which the nation exercises its right of sovereignty and jurisdiction. Criteria for the general
management and protection of (land) fauna are set out in (Articles 79 to 87 bis 2) of the Ecology Law.

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D.O.F. 25/06/1992
Ley de Pesca
D.O.F. 21/07/1992
Reglamento de la Ley de Pesca

The Fisheries Law (Ley Federal de Pesca) and the Regulation to the Fisheries Law (Reglamento de la Ley
Federal de Pesca) establish specific regulations governing the conservation, preservation, rational exploitation
and management of all aquatic flora and fauna. In 1995, the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries
Secretariat (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca (SEMARNAP)) assumed regulatory
authority over aquatic species, when the former Fisheries Secretariat (Secretaría de Pesca) was dissolved and
made part of SEMARNAP. SEMARNAP is in charge of establishing conservation methods and measures to
preserve or repopulate fisheries' resources, including fisheries bans and reserves. It also is responsible for
establishing the volumes of permissible capture; the types of fishing instruments to be utilized; as well as the
seasons and minimum size and weight of fish that may be caught.
The Federal Fisheries Law establishes five types of general administrative sanctions for violations, which include:
1. Temporary suspension or revocation of the concession, permit, or authorization;
2. Appropriation of the fishing products or equipment;
3. Imposition of fines;
4. Temporary, permanent, partial or complete closure of fisheries facilities or vessels; and
5. Warnings.

Fines are assessed depending upon the type and severity of the violation and can range from 20 and 20,000
times the minimum wage of the Federal District (Distrito Federal). Recurring fines can incur twice the amount of
the original fines. Fines and sanctions may be appealed through the appeals procedures set forth in the Federal
Fisheries Law. Final resolution of the appeals can be reviewed through an “amparo” action.

(Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995).

2.1.2.2.1 Concessions, Permits and Authorizations

Fisheries resources are managed and controlled by concessions, permits and authorizations. Fishing activities
are further classified as either developmental, educational, commercial, aquaculture or recreational. All
concessions, permits and authorizations must be inscribed in the National Fisheries Registry (Registro Nacional
de Pesca). Concessions and permits are granted according to technical and economic studies taking into account
conservation needs and the public interest.

Concessions
Concessions provide for the use, exploitation, and development of the national waters or territorial seas.
Concessions are granted for a minimum of five years and a maximum of twenty years. Cultivative fisheries
concessions can be granted for fifty years.

Under Article 34 of the Fisheries Regulations, concession holders must, among other things:
1. Extract, capture and cultivate authorized species exclusively in zones determined by SEMARNAP;
2. Present annually to SEMARNAP the status of the technical and economic projects associated with the
concession, including a program and schedule of the volumes of fish to be caught and a final report on the
amount of fish captured;
3. Execute fishing activities with authorized and registered equipment and methods;
4. Engage in aquaculture activities in the concessioned areas according to authorized methods;
5. Comply with the technical and economic conditions for the exploitation of each species, group of species or
zones established in the concession;
6. Assist the federal government in the preservation of the aquatic environment and the conservation and
reproduction of species, including the development of programs for repopulating species in natural settings;
7. Allow observers, investigators, and scientific and technical experts authorized by SEMARNAP to board all
vessels and facilities associated with the fisheries activities.
(Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995)

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The most relevant existing fisheries concessions related to coral reef conservation in Mexico, are those that give
exclusive rights for cooperatives for a period of 20 years to capture Caribbean Spiny Lobster Panulirus argus
(Map 5), a species that lives in an important reef habitat within the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. This
process was started in 1994, when 9 concessions were given and published in he D.O.F. In 1995 four more were
given, their publication on the D.O.F., being no longer required. No new concessions have been given since,
although not all concessionable areas have been covered. Cooperatives are using permits to fish on these areas.
Existing concessions include:

Map 5.

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D.O.F. 18/07/1994
Concesión otorgada a S.C.P.P. Pescadores de Dzilam de Bravo S.C.L. para la extracción, captura y
aprovechamiento comercial de langosta del Caribe en aguas de jurisdicción federal del Golfo de México, Yuc.

D.O.F. 18/07/1994
Concesión otorgada a S.C.P.P. Pescadores Unidos de San Felipe S.C.L. para la extracción, captura y
aprovechamiento comercial de langosta del Caribe en aguas de jurisdicción federal del Golfo de México,
ubicadas frente al Puerto de San Felipe, Yuc.

D.O.F. 18/07/1994 (each one in separate)


Concesión otorgada a
1) S.C.P.P. Manuel Cepeda Peraza S.C.L.
2)S.C.P.P. Pescadores de Rio Lagartos S.C.L.
para la extracción, captura y aprovechamiento comercial de langosta del Caribe en aguas de jurisdicción federal
del Golfo de México, ubicadas frente al Puerto de Río Lagartos, Yuc.

D.O.F. 18/07/1994
Concesión otorgada a S.C.P.P. El Cuyo S.C.L. para la extracción, captura y aprovechamiento comercial de
langosta del Caribe en aguas de jurisdicción federal del Golfo de México, ubicadas frente a las costas del puerto
del Cuyo, Yuc.

D.O.F. 14/11/1994 (each one in separate)


Concesión otorgada a
1) S.C.P.P. Pescadores de Tulum S.C.L.
2) S.C.P.P. José María Azcorra S.C.L.
3) S.C.P.P. Pescadores de Puerto Morelos S.C.L.
4) S.C.P.P. Pescadores de Vigía Chico S.C.L.
para la extracción, captura y aprovechamiento comercial de la especie langosta del Caribe, en Q. Roo

Not Published in D.O.F. 24/03/1995


Concesión que otorga el Poder Ejecutivo Federal a través de la Secretaría de Medio Ambiente, Recursos
Naturales y Pesca, Representada por su titular la C. Julia Carabias Lillo, de acuerdo a las facultades que le
confieren los Artículos 32 bis Fracciones I, II, III, XXXII y XXXIX de la Ley Orgánica de la Administración Pública
Federal, 1o, 2o, 3o, Fracciones VI y IX, 4o, 5o, 6o, 7o, 9o, 10, 16, 17, 18 y demás relativos de la Ley de Pesca,
20, 21, 28, 30, 33, 34, 73, 74, 75, 76 y demás relativos de su Reglamento, a la...
1) S.C.P.P. Vanguardia del Mar S.C.L.
2) S.C.P.P. Por la Justicia Social S.C.L.
3) S.C.P.P. Cozumel S.C.L.
4) S.C.P.P. Langosteros del Caribe S.C.L.
para la extracción, captura y aprovechamiento de la especie: langosta del Caribe Panulirus argus en aguas de
jurisdicción federal del Mar Caribe, ...

Permits

In addition to obtaining a concession, most fisheries activities require a specific permit. Permits to fish are granted
for four years. Permit holders must comply with the same general requirements as concession holders with the
exception of making status reports related to technical and economic projects. (Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org,
1995)

D.O.F. 01/10/1990
Acuerdo que establece un sistema general para la expedición de permisos de pesca comercial por pesquerías.

This Secretarial Dictate, establishes the general system under which commercial permits are to be given. Coral
reef related species specified within this system are classified as: Stone Crab, other crabs, Conch, Black Coral,
Pink Coral, other corals, marine fishes, scale fishes, lobster, octopus and sharks. A permit is required for each
classification.

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Authorizations

Authorizations are special permits for particular fisheries activities and may only be granted to Mexican nationals.
The following activities require authorization:

1. Fishing on the high seas or in waters of foreign jurisdiction by boats under the Mexican Flag;
2. Installing fixed equipment for fish captured in waters under federal jurisdiction;
3. Collecting all reproductive species, larva, post larva, juveniles, eggs, seeds or fingerlings for the purpose of
aquaculture or research;
4. Introducing live species in waters under federal jurisdiction;
5. Engaging in educational fisheries activities;
6. Unloading domestically captured species at foreign ports by fishing vessels under the Mexican flag;
7. Unloading fresh fish products in Mexican ports by foreign vessels; and
8. Transferring or substituting title holders of concessions and permits.

(Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995)

2.1.2.2.2 Fisheries Regulations and Official Mexican Norms

D.O.F. 18/10/1993
Aviso por el que se da a conocer el establecimiento de épocas y zonas de veda para la pesca de diferentes
especies de la fauna acuática en aguas de jurisdicción federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos.

This Official Announcement compiled all previous fisheries regulations dealing with fishing seasons, bans and
zones on Mexican waters under Federal jurisdiction into a coherent document. Coral reef related regulations and
their specifications included are:

Reaffirms the permanent ban for collecting Plexaura homomalla, a gorgonian coral in the Mexican Caribbean
Sea, established by D.O.F. 05/11/1974 (Acuerdo que establece veda general para el coral blando (Plexaura
homomalla) en las aguas territoriales del Caribe). This ban was originally created to protect this organism until the
proper research was carried out. The regulation intended to protect this coral species that was in demand by the
pharmaceutical industry. Although a synthetic substitute for prostanoids was found, the regulation still holds.

Reaffirms the permanent ban for all species of marine turtles, including Eretmochelys imbricata which depends on
the reef habitat in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, originally established in D.O.F. 31/05/1990,
(Acuerdo por el que se establece veda para las especies y subespecies de tortuga marina en aguas de
jurisdicción federal del Golfo de México y Mar Caribe, así como en las del Oceano Pacífico, incluyendo el Golfo
de California).

Establishes a permanent ban for the following conch species: Strombus gigas, Strombus costatus, Busycon
contrarium and Pleuroploca gigantea, Busycon sp and Xancus sp in federal waters off coast from the State of
Yucatan.

Establishes closed season for the following conch species; Strombus gigas, Strombus costatus, Busycon
contrarium and Pleuroploca gigantea, Busycon sp and Xancus sp in federal waters off coast from the State of
Quintana Roo, from May 1 to October 31.

Establishes closed season for the following lobster species; Panulirus argus, Panulirus laevicauda and Panulirus
guttatus in federal waters off coast from the States of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, from March 1 to June 31.

Establishes closed season for the octopus fishery which includes Octopus maya and Octopus vulgaris, in federal
waters off coast from the States of Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo, from December 16 to July 31. These
species are related to reef habitat in the Gulf of Mexico and to a lesser extent in the Caribbean Sea.

D.O.F. 31/12/1993

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Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-006-PESC-1993, Para regular el aprovechamiento de todas las especies de
langosta en las aguas de jurisdicción federal del Golfo de México y Mar Caribe, así como del Océano Pacífico
incluyendo el Golfo de California.
D.O.F. 01/07/1997 Modificación
Establishes regulations for the lobster fishery in Mexican waters, which includes Panulirus argus, Panulirus
laevicauda and Panulirus guttatus that live in important reef habitat in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

D.O.F. 21/04/1995
Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-013-PESC-1994, Para regular el aprovechamiento de las especies de caracol en
aguas de jurisdicción federal de los estados de Campeche, Quintana Roo y Yucatán.

Establishes regulations for the conch fishery, which includes Strombus gigas, Strombus costatus, Busycon
contrarium and Pleuroploca gigantea, Melongena corona, M. corona bispinosa and Xancus angulatum species
related to the reef habitat in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

D.O.F. 09/05/1995
Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-017-PESC-1994, para regular las actividades de pesca deportiva recreativa en las
aguas de jurisdicción federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos.

Establishes regulations for sport and recreational fishing activities. This fishery includes only fish species.
Crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic mammals, reptiles and amphibians can not be taken. Subaquatic sport fishing can
only be done through skin-diving, with one rubber band or spring harpoon per fisherman and a catch limit of no
more than five specimens per fisherman/day. All other fishing regulations apply to this fishery.

2.1.2.2.3 Fisheries Reserves and Refuge Zones

In addition to controlling the fisheries activities according to quantity, type, and method through the concessions,
permits and authorizations programs, SEMARNAP may also establish special fishery reserves, refuge zones and
fishing bans to protect threatened or endangered species. Fisheries reserves or bans can be established
according to species or zone and can be temporary or permanent. Fishing activities are prohibited in fishery
reserves except in the volumes and according to methods established by SEMARNAP. (Internet:
http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995)

2.1.2.3 Other Relevant Legislation

In terms of their management, coral reefs like any other near-shore habitats, cannot be isolated and cannot be
protected if the complete array of sociobiological coastal processes are not taken into account. Within this
framework, coral reefs would constitute the "flagship species" to achieve their own conservation and sustainable
use, through an integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) strategy. There is not a single piece of legislation
that could support ICZM efforts in Mexico. In this chapter we describe legislation that complements the legal body
that covers areas relevant to ICZM issues.

2.1.2.3.1 Federal Maritime-Terrestrial Zone

The General Law of National Property (Ley General de Bienes Nacionales) (hereinafter National Property Law)
and the Regulation for the Use and Exploitation of the Territorial Sea, Navigable Waters, Beaches, Federal
Coastal Land Zone and (newly emerged lands) (Reglamento para el uso y aprovechamiento de mares
territoriales, aguas navegables, playas, la zona federal marítimo terrestre y terrenos ganados al mar) (hereinafter
Coastal Zone Regulation) regulate the management and development of coastal zones (Federal maritime-
terrestrial zone) (Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org 1995).

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D.O.F. 08/01/1982, 12/02/1982, 24/03/1982, 07/02/1994, 21/01/1995, 25/05/1987, 03/01/1992 y 29/07/1994


Ley General de Bienes Nacionales

The National Property Law establishes a general regime for granting land use rights to private individuals and
public entities over national common lands, which include the Federal maritime-terrestrial zone.

Article 49, fraction III specifies that the total surface of cays and reefs located in territorial seas are to be
considered Federal maritime-terrestrial zone.

D.O.F. 21/08/1991
Reglamento para el uso y aprovechamiento del mar territorial, vías navegables, playas, zona federal marítimo
terrestre y terrenos ganados al mar.

The Coastal Zone Regulation governs administration and development of all federal coastal land zones (Federal
maritime-terrestrial zone) which are lands above the mean high tide line (generally 20 meters of federal property
adjacent to the coast). National ownership rights over coastal lands are inalienable and unassignable and use
rights depend on the terms of the concession, payment of rental rights and protection of the relevant ecosystems.

The Coastal Zone Regulation grants administrative authority over coastal zone management to SEMARNAP,
which establishes regulations restricting the use, access and contamination of the coastal zone areas.

The Coastal Zone Regulation requires SEMARNAP to: (1) establish general management policies regarding
coastal land use in coordination with state and municipal, or sub-state governments and the Secretariat of
Communications and Transport (Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes SCT); (2) develop regional master
plans for development and exploitation purposes in order to provide guidelines for granting concessions; (3)
develop and publish technical studies and an inventory of the topography, boundaries and landmarks of the
coastal zones; and, (4) establish a national registry that catalogues all concessions and permit holders who have
been granted rights to use federal coast lands.

All use, development and exploitation of federal coastal zones and beaches, other than general public enjoyment
and specially permitted temporary businesses, require authorization from SEMARNAP. A concession must also
be obtained from SCT for any use, development, occupation and construction of maritime facilities and ports.
Concessions are granted primarily to private commercial entities, but may also be obtained by cooperative
societies, such as “ejidos” and “comunidades.” States, municipalities and other local or public entities are granted
coastal land use rights through intergovernmental agreements executed by SEMARNAP. Public entities have
preference over private applicants. Foreign applicants must also comply with the ownership and control
restrictions under the Foreign Investment Law (Ley para Promover la Inversión Mexicana y Regular la Inversión
Extranjera) and its implementing Regulation.

The Coastal Zone Regulation similarly establishes that all other federal laws or common laws, customs, uses and
general principles - which include environmental pollution control laws - shall apply to and supplement the Coastal
Zone Regulation.

SEMARNAP has authority to enforce all violations to the Coastal Zone Regulation that are not related to maritime
facilities and ports.

(Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995)

Some of the national marine parks (a management category not included in the new Ecology Law) established for
reef protection include the federal maritime-terrestrial zone such as Arrecifes de Cozumel, but others like Costa
Occidental de Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc do not.

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2.1.2.3.2 Jurisdiction over the Sea

D.O.F. 08/01/1986
Ley Federal del Mar.

National boundaries over all coastal lands are set forth under Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution and the
Federal Oceans Law (Ley Federal del Mar). In general, Mexico asserts (federal) jurisdiction on all territorial seas
within the confines of international law. The Federal Oceans Law describes national boundaries for six types of
maritime bodies.

- Territorial Sea
Mexico claims jurisdiction over the territorial sea, which extends twelve nautical miles (22,224 meters) from the
Mexican shoreline and includes air space and the ocean floor and soils. The territorial sea is measured by straight
lines from the low water tide line. Where the territorial sea meets waters under the jurisdiction of other Nations,
the Executive Branch (Ejecutivo) will enter into international accords to determine the exact boundaries.

- Interior Marine Waters


Mexico also asserts jurisdiction over all interior marine waters which include: the Northern Gulf of California;
interior bays; Mexican ports; interior reefs; and all deltas, estuaries, lakes, rivers and other freshwater ocean
outlets. The interior boundaries are marked by the low tide water line.

- Contiguous Zone
Mexico also declares under its jurisdiction a "contiguous" zone that extends 24 nautical miles (44,448 meters)
beyond the boundaries of the territorial sea, for the purposes of deterring and enforcing customs, immigration,
fiscal and health violations within the territorial and interior marine waters. Mexico does not, however, declare
actual ownership over this area.

- Exclusive Economic Zone


The exclusive economic zone extends 200 nautical miles (374,400 meters) beyond the boundaries of the
territorial sea. Within this area, Mexico exerts national sovereignty over all coastal zone exploration, exploitation
and conservation, including the establishment of artificial islands and facilities, scientific marine research, mineral
extraction and the protection and preservation of the marine environment.

- Continental Shelf
Mexico also maintains jurisdiction over its marine continental shelf, which includes the ocean floor and sub-soils
that extend 200 nautical miles from the boundary of the territorial sea. Where the continental shelf does not
extend the full distance, the boundary is defined according to international law. The continental shelf is contiguous
to the exclusive economic zone. Jurisdiction over the continental shelf remains exclusive and prevents all others
from exploring the shelf, even where Mexico has not.

(Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995)

Mexico also considers as a Mexican marine zone any other zone permitted by international law.

2.1.2.3.3 Navy Secretariat

The Navy Secretariat's main responsibility is to assert Mexico's sovereign rights over territorial waters within the
confines of international law. Among other functions, the Navy Secretariat carries out oceanographic research
through the General Direction of Naval Oceanography, including among other subjects; meteorology,
topohydrography, cartography, ocean generated energy, aquaculture, desalination, sustainable harvesting of
ocean resources and marine biodiversity. The Navy Secretariat coordinates with SEMARNAP to enforce fishing
regulations over Mexican territorial waters (D.O.F. 31/01/1990).

The Navy Secretariat is required to observe strict enforcement of the Ocean Dumping Regulation, principally
through inspection. Naval inspectors may board any vessel suspected of transporting cargo to be dumped

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illegally; examine any substance or cargo; demand inspection of all documentation and permits travel with vessels
to ensure dumping occurs in the appropriate sites; and detain any vessel for the time necessary to execute a
proper inspection. Vessel owners and crew must facilitate all aspects of the inspection. Application of fines under
the Ocean Dumping Regulation does not preclude application of any other sanctions or penalties under other
relevant laws (Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995).

D.O.F. 22/02/1978
Acuerdo por el que se crea la Comisión Intersecretarial de Investigación Oceanográfica.
D.O.F. 23/02/1978
Fe de erratas del Acuerdo por el que se crea la Comisión Intersecretarial de Investigación Oceanográfica,
publicado el 22 de febrero de 1978.
D.O.F. 18/05/1979
Acuerdo por el cual se modifica el Artículo 1o del diverso que crea la Comisión Intersecretarial de Investigación
Oceanográfica.

The Intersecretarial Commission for Oceanographic Research (CIIO) was created and modified by the above
mentioned Secretarial Dictates to promote the development of oceanographic research in Mexico through the
active participation of the public, private and social sectors. The Commission is responsible for coordinating all
actions related to oceanographic research, in order to rationalize resource use and the conservation of aquatic
ecosystems, taking into account the potential value that recreational activities and use of coastal and marine
resources have on the national economy.

The Commission's objectives are to:

- Promote coordination in all aspects related to oceanographic research to optimize efforts and resources.
- Coordinate the authorization of permits for foreigners seeking to carry out oceanographic research in marine
zones of national jurisdictions.
- Promote coordination of activities to optimize resources in oceanographic cruises.
- Promote scientific research from the national scientific community, through the annual National Prize for
Oceanographic Research.

(pers. comm. INE/Lezcano 1997)

Intersecretarial Commission for Oceanographic Research is presided over by the Navy Secretariat and needs to
be revitalized as a coordinating body.

2.1.2.3.4 Navigation and Related Facilities

The Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) is responsible for the regulation of maritime ports
(Ports Law - Ley de Puertos), facilities, trade and traffic in accordance with the Navigation Law (Ley de
Navegación).

D.O.F. 19/07/1993
Ley de Puertos
D.O.F. 04/01/1994
Ley de Navegación

The Navigation Law (Ley de Navegación Art. 65 and 66) generally prohibits all vessels from discharging garbage,
petroleum and petroleum derivatives, wastewater discharges and other dangerous and noxious elements that
could contaminate or harm waters under Mexican jurisdiction.

(Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995)

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2.1.2.3.5 Tourism

Coral reefs have an important potential to generate touristic activities. In this case, Mexican legislation contain
some side provisions, oriented towards preventing the destruction of natural resources which support touristic
activities.

D.O.F. 31/12/1992
Ley Federal de Turismo

The Federal Tourism Law states as an objective (Art. 2, Fracc. III) to promote the use of touristic attractions and
resources preserving the environmental and social equilibrium. It also states that areas with natural assets that
can be considered of touristic importance, can be declared Priority Touristic Development Zones (Zonas de
Desarrollo Turístico Prioritario), and promote investment in these areas.

D.O.F. 13/06/95
Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-05-TUR-1995, Requisitos mínimos de seguridad a que deben sujetarse las
operadoras de buceo para garantizar la prestación del servicio.

Establishes regulations for any principal individual or company that offer diving services within the limits or
proximity of a protected area decreed in accordance with the law, to abstain from assisting in any sort of scuba
diving activity, except when the tourist has obtained permission that enables him to be at that location. When
diving within areas not included within the protected area decrees, the individual or company offering services
should prevent any destruction for flora and the extraction or collection of species fauna by divers. In case the
tour operators fail to comply, it should be noted that they are legally responsible and can be sanctioned by law.

D.O.F. 04/08/1997
Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-09-TUR-1997, Que establece los elementos a que deben sujetarse los guías
especializados en actividades específicas.

Establishes regulations for diving guides, including amongst other issues, the obligation to include in the briefing
information on environmental protection and also establishes the maximum number of divers that a guide can
include in its group, according to the different grades of expertise of the divers.

2.1.2.3.6 Penal Code

D.O.F. 13/12/1996
Decreto por el que se reforma, adiciona y deroga diversos artículos del Código Penal para el Distrito Federal en
Materia Común y para toda la República en Materia Federal

Recent changes to the Ecology Law were complemented by additions to the Penal Code that specify
environmental crimes. The Penal Code for the Federal District in Common Matters and for the Entire Republic in
Federal Matters (hereinafter Federal Penal Code) typifies the following environmental crimes related to coastal
management issues. Articles 414, 415 and 416 specify imprisonment from three months to six years, and a fine
from 1,000 to 20,000 minimum daily wages to each person that:

Executes highly risky activities that harm natural resources, flora, fauna or ecosystems.

Conducts any activity with toxic materials or wastes that harm or can harm natural resources, flora, fauna or
ecosystems.

Discharges in any way waste waters, liquid chemicals or biochemicals that harm or can harm natural resources,
flora, fauna or ecosystems.

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Destroys, desiccates or fills wetlands, mangroves, lagoons, coastal lagoons or swamps.


Article 420 specifies imprisonment from six months to six years, and a fine from 1,000 to 20,000 minimum daily
wages to persons that:

Intentionally captures, seriously injures or takes the life of marine mammals or turtles, or harvests them for
commercial use without proper authority.

Intentionally captures, processes, keeps, transports, destroys, buys or sells banned aquatic species without
proper authority.

Conducts any commercial operation with endangered, threatened, endemic, rare flora and fauna and those
subject to special management, without proper authority.

2.1.3 State and Municipal Legislation

Mexico´s Ecology Law creates a decentralized federalist system in which both the states and the federal
government share regulatory authority over environmental issues. SEMARNAP is the administrative authority
responsible for almost all environmental issues under federal jurisdiction.

All thirty-one states have created their own environmental legal regimes; the Federal District (Distrito Federal) is
also in the process of developing its own environmental legislation. Changes made to the Ecology Law in 1996
grant states more extensive jurisdiction and regulatory authority. Increased decentralization will not, however,
diminish Mexican environmental standards: federal standards establish a floor to state standards, i.e., state
standards must be equivalent or more stringent than the federal standards.

Nevertheless, in coral reef related issues, States and Municipalities are expected to have a minimal jurisdictional
participation since marine conservation is still under federal jurisdiction.

(modified from Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org 1995)

2.2 Government Programs

2.2.1 National Development Plan 1995-2000

D.O.F. 31/05/1995
Decreto por el que se aprueba el Plan Nacional de Desarrollo 1995-2000.

The National Development Plans (Plan Nacional de Desarrollo), are six year programs established by the
Mexican President at the beginning of their term. The Plans are intended to provide systematic and coordinated
integrated economic, social, political and cultural development. Each Secretariat, including SEMARNAP develops
specific Programs in accordance with the President's National Plan. Development Plans serve as long term policy
guides (modified from internet: http://www.cca.cec.org, 1995).

The National Development Plan conceptualizes the environment within the framework of economic growth and
social development, stating that economic growth should be environmentally sustainable, and policy towards this
end should be applied in conjunction with strategies, programs and actions that will tend to improve environmental
conditions and promote rational use of natural resources. The Plan makes a commitment to sustainable
development on ethical and economical grounds. On the ethical side it expresses the survival of future
generations and on the economic side stresses the importance that without natural resources and a healthy
environment, economic development is not viable.

The Environmental Policy for Sustainable Growth chapter of the Plan identifies among other national priorities,
some principles which are applicable to coral reef management:

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- To stop the tendency towards environmental degradation and initiate the transit towards
sustainable development.
- To restore critical areas for the protection of biodiversity.
- To achieve sustainable financing of protected areas.
- To develop an integrated strategy for fisheries.
- To develop better management practices and zoning (ordenamiento) of coastal zones.
- To achieve social co-responsibility.

(Poder Ejecutivo Federal-SHCP 1995)

2.2.2 National Environmental Program 1995-2000

D.O.F. 03/04/1996
Decreto por el que se aprueba el programa sectorial de mediano plazo denominado Programa de Medio
Ambiente 1995-2000.

The National Environmental Program 1995-2000 was developed within the context of the directives indicated in
the National Development Plan 1995-2000 and in accordance with the legal framework for SEMARNAP.
Following the concept of sustainability that offers a new and richer dimension to the political [U1] atmosphere and
which demands a reinterpretation of problems and available opportunities, the coastal and marine environment
was considered among the six fundamental points that were used to establish the diagnosis for this Program. The
objective of the Program is "To stop the tendency towards environmental, natural resources and ecosystems
degradation, and establish the basis for environmental restoration and recuperation, that permits economic and
social development based upon the principles of sustainability" (INE1995).

The program achieves viability and becomes operational through the use of the environmental policy instruments.

Some of the most relevant environmental policy instruments applicable to coastal zone management are;
protected areas, direct regulation of wildlife, ecological zoning, environmental impact assessments, official
Mexican norms and research and education, among others.

Among the 15 stated strategies for implementing the Program, three aspects are of special interest for the
protection of coral reefs:

Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and protected areas.


Environmental zoning for regional development
Environmental protection of coastal zones

The first two issues are dealt with separately in other chapters of this document, so this section will address only
the policies for the Protection of Coastal Zones.

The strategy utilized by the National Environmental Program for the protection of coastal zones, mentions the
following projects/priority activities:

- Environmental Diagnosis and Development of a Database for the Coastal Zones of Mexico
The objective of this project is to integrate the necessary information for environmental action on the coastal
zones. Counting with a water quality database will permit a convenient and effective diagnostic of the Mexican
coastal ecosystems. This information will contribute vital elements for decision making and policy development for
the protection of coastal zones.

- Evaluation and Control of Land-Based Marine Pollution


In the Global Program of Action for Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities adopted
during the UNEP Intergovernmental Meeting (Washington, D.C., November 1995), countries pledged to protect
and preserve the marine environment by means of implementing actions to reduce any detrimental impact due to

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land-based activities, especially those related to wastewater, persistent organic pollutants, radioactive
substances, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, nutrients, sediments, trash and any physical modifications to the
habitats.

On behalf of this program of action, an inventory will be taken of land-based point-sources of pollution such as:
water treatment plants, industrial plants, municipal discharges, electric plants, tourist developments, aquaculture,
habitat alterations (i.e. dredging, marshlands, destruction of mangroves) and introduction of exotic species. This
inventory should also include non point-sources of pollutants such as urban runoff, agricultural run-off, forestry,
mines and construction runoff, as well as atmospheric pollutants (vehicle, industrial, incinerators and agricultural).

The National Institute of Ecology is developing the project entitled "An Inventory of Land-Based Pollutants to the
Sea Applying a Geographical Information System (GIS)", which includes the six Gulf States and Caribbean Sea of
Mexico, and will allow for the identification and evaluation point and non-point sources of pollution that threaten
marine and coastal environments. The information shall be integrated into the Information System for Coastal
Zones.

In addition, INE is participating in a regional (Mexico-US) pilot program entitled "Conserving the Marine
Resources of the Southern California Bight" for the implementation for the Global Program of Action for Protection
of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities within the framework of the Commission for Environmental
Cooperation (CEC).

- Monitoring System for Mexican Seas


Within Mexico, there is no existing periodic or permanent monitoring system that evaluates the status of Mexican
seas and varying environmental parameters over time. It is deemed necessary to initiate the development of a
long-term monitoring system with a dependable information base that will supply preventive and corrective
methods for the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems.

The above mentioned project (An Evaluation of Pollutants in Mexican Waters within the Gulf Coast and Caribbean
Sea) executed in collaboration with the Secretariat of the navy, whose results are in the stages of integration and
analysis, will help to establish the baseline for a monitoring system. Periodical monitoring of the marine
environment is necessary in order to maintain an information base that supplies preventive and corrective
methods for the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems.

- Inspection, Verification and Enforcement


In compliance with the Ecology Law and related ecological regulations, environmental zoning, management
plans, environmental impact statements and regulations pertaining to the Federal marine-terrestrial zone must be
promoted through inspections, verifications and enforcement actions, as part of the coastal and marine
ecosystem conservation strategy.

- Strengthening International Cooperation in Relation to the Protection of the Marine Environment


The requirement for increased participation in global and regional programs having to do with the protection of the
marine environment and promoting the establishment of efficient mechanisms for the exchange of information and
technical support is necessary. Program participation occurs principally in the following organizations:

· Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the Subcommission of the IOC for the
Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (IOCARIBE)
· International Maritime Organization (IMO)
· United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
· Economic Cooperation and Development Organization (OCDE)
· Commission for Environmental Cooperation in North America (CEC)

(adapted from INE/Lezcano 1997)

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2.2.3 National Fisheries and Aquaculture Program 1995-2000

D.O.F. 13/03/1996
Decreto por el que se aprueba el programa sectorial de mediano plazo denominado Programa de Pesca y
Acuacultura 1995-2000.

The Fisheries Program 1995-2000, as an integral part of the National Development Plan 1995-2000, focuses on
the search and consolidation of a diversified resource use that at the same time is consistent with environmental
protection and the improvement of living standards of those who participate in the activity.

As with all economic activities, the interactions between fisheries/aquaculture and the environment are multiple. In
this respect, special care of adequate resource management techniques are fundamental for achieving
sustainable development.

In this way, fishing activities, processing and commercialization of fishing products, become part of the production
chain, integrated by different activities and industrial operations that should function harmoniously and in
equilibrium. The sport and recreational fishery, an area that has had limited development, is also considered to
have important economic potential.

Consequently, the action framework for fishing and aquaculture, viewed as a whole, contains economic
processes that significantly impact nutrition, regional investments/job market and foreign trade.

The Subprogram for Protection, Conservation and Rehabilitation for Habitat and Species, states that a major
problem impacting the environment is the effects on the coastal habitat (coastal, lagoons, coral reefs and
mangroves) which play a preponderant role in ecological sustainability and use of living resources. Also, there is a
major problem with species being threatened by over-exploitation and poor management of their ecosystems,
amongst other things.

One of the objectives of this Subprogram is to identify and evaluate the most important aquatic ecosystems that
are being deteriorated by the following threats: sedimentation or pollution aggravated by land based activities,
deforestation, industrial pollution, agro-chemical and domestic pollution, hydraulic works. Likewise, this
Subprogram contemplates ecosystems considered critical because of their fragility. Other objectives are to
strengthen the programs for protection of marine species through activities such as research oriented towards the
development of new alternatives and strategies for resource conservation.

The infrastructure and the resources of the National Institute for Fisheries (Instituto Nacional de la Pesca - INP),
will be used to research and monitor pollution within the aquatic ecosystems associated with shore communities.
The INP's scientific capacity will be applied on conservation and management of marine species. The INP should
join efforts with other research institutions in order to achieve the desired effect. With the National Institute for
Ecology INE, environmental zoning plans and environment impact statements, will serve as preventive
instruments for deteriorating habitats and the effects on species. In coordination with the PROFEPA, there will be
support for inspection and overseeing actions in order to enforce respective norms.

The Subprogram's goal is to integrate an environmental diagnostic plan for deteriorating aquatic ecosystems, that
will permit to identify the causes and propose methods to globally correct land and coastal management and in-
situ rehabilitation for a better use of aquatic ecosystems.

In this Subprogram the INP shall be responsible for defining the areas in need of rehabilitation work in order to
devise the pertinent environmental diagnostic plans. The General Directorate for Infrastructure (Dirección General
de Infraestructura) shall be responsible for executing the physical works necessary for the Subprogram, in
coordination with the National Institute for Ecology, the PROFEPA, state and Municipal governments, as well as
with national and foreign research institutions, social organizations and economic agents.

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2.2.4 Mexican Protected Area Program 1995-2000

The Mexican Protected Area Program 1995-2000 was developed within the context of the directives indicated in
the National Environmental Program 1995-2000 and in accordance with the legal framework for SEMARNAP and
the National Institute of Ecology. Among the Program objectives it is stated that;

-Protected areas need to be consolidated through management programs (plans) and operative programs.
-The territorial coverage and the representation of protected areas needs to be increased.
-The number of actors and social involvement toward their conservation needs to be increased.
-New possibilities for regional planning and sustainable use of natural resources through protected areas need to
be created.
-The funds of protected areas need to be diversified.

The Program includes the following areas with important reef ecosystems, within the administrative strategy, as
Pilot Areas where initial institutional integration, financing, management and administrative efforts will be
concentrated:

- Costa Occ. de Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc, Q. Roo.


- Sian Ka'an - Uaymil Q. Roo
- Isla Contoy Q. Roo
- Islas del Golfo de California B.C., B.C.S., Son, Sin.

The Program states within the strategy to increase representation and range of Mexican protected areas with a
greater emphasis should be made in coastal and marine areas. Within the context of this new emphasis, it is
indicated that the coral reef systems of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and the small coral communities
extending from Salina Cruz to the Gulf of California, among other coastal and marine ecosystems, should be
included in the National System of Protected Areas (Sistema Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas - SINAP).

The Program specifies the following areas with important reef ecosystems within the strategy to increase
representativity and range of Mexican protected areas, the first two which have already been decreed:

- Costa Occ. de Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc, Q.Roo.


- Banco Chinchorro Q. Roo
- Huatulco, Oax.

(INE, 1996)

As a result of the intervention of SEMARNAP and the application of the Mexican Protected Area Program, most of
the protected areas that contain coral reef habitat have increased their management level. The following list
indicates advances made toward the consolidation of these areas:

Pacific Ocean (Map 1)

Reserva de la Biosfera Archipíelago de las Revillagigedo


Administered by the Mexican Navy (SEMAR). Ongoing research activities by CIBNOR, Instituto de Ecologia
UNAM, UCLA-Los Angeles, California Academy of Sciences. Supporting NGO, Island Conservation and Ecology
Group from UC- Santa Cruz. Management plan in progress. Established in 1994.

Zona de Reserva y Refugio de Aves Migratorias y de la Fauna Silvestre Islas del Golfo de California.
Federal and GEF funds. Operative administrative structure. Regional Management plan in progress. Ongoing
research activities by: CICESE, Instituto de Biología and Facultad de Ciencias UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones
Oceanológicas de la UABC, CIDESON, ITESM-Guaymas, Instituto del Medio Ambiente y el Desarrollo
Sustentable del Estado de Sonora (IMARES), University of Arizona. Supporting NGOs, Pronatura Peninsula de
Baja California, Fundación Mar de Cortéz A.C., Conservación del Territorio Insular Mexicano A.C. (ISLA).
Established in 1978, needs to be recategorized and redecreed. 57+ islands (mostly terrestrial, also coastal).

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Parque Nacional Bahia de Loreto


Federal funds. Operative administrative structure. Supporting NGOs, Grupo Ecologísta Antares A.C., Fundación
Mar de Cortéz A.C., Conservación del Territorio Insular Mexicano A.C. (ISLA). Established in 1996

Parque Nacional Cabo Pulmo


Management plan in progress. Ongoing research activities by the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur.
Interested NGOs, Peninsula de Baja California, Patronato Cabo Pulmo. Established in 1995.

Zona de Refugio Submarino de Flora y Fauna y Condiciones Ecológicas del Fondo Cabo San Lucas
No management structure or plan. No research has taken place, but the area seems to have very limited potential
for coral conservation. Established in 1973

Reserva de Caza Cajón del Diablo, Sonora.


No management structure. Some local interest for conservation (Predio Seri Muerto). Ongoing research activities
by Instituto del Medio Ambiente y el Desarrollo Sustentable del Estado de Sonora (IMARES). Basic studies and
management plan in progress. Established in 1937.

Parque Nacional Isla Isabel, Nayarit.


Minimum administrated infrastructure, needs management plan. No references of coral communities were found
for the island. Established in 1980.

Zona de Refugio para la Protección de Flora y Fauna Marinas Los Arcos, Jalisco
No management structure or plan. Research is needed for this area, to determine its potential for preserving coral
and other marine species. Established in 1975.

Map 1.

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Gulf of Mexico (Map 2)

Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano


Basic administrative functions by the Mexican Navy (SEMAR). Supporting NGO Chalchicueye A.C. Established in
1992.

Zona Especial de Protección de Flora y Fauna Silvestre y Acúatica Los Petenes.


Might include some coral communities. Management plan in progress. Ongoing research activities by EPOMEX.
Established by the State in 1996, will be Federally decreed in 1997.
382,396 Ha. State, 375,951 Ha. Federal (coastal and marine)
Gulf of Mexico Neritic Province, Campechean Subprovince

Parque Nacional Arrecife Alacranes


Management plan in progress. Ongoing research activities by CINVESTAV. Established in 1994.

Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Yum Balam


Local participation. Supporting NGOs Yum Balam A.C., Reserva Ecológica El Eden A.C. Established in 1994.

Map 2.

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Caribbean Sea (Maps 3 and 4)

Parque Nacional Isla Contoy


Federal and GEF funds. Operative administrative structure and management plan. Ongoing research activities by
UNAM, ECOSUR. Supporting NGOs Por Contoy A.C., Amigos de Isla Contoy A.C., Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C.
Established in 1961, was recategorized and expanded in 1997.

Parque Nacional Costa Occidental de Isla Mujeres Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc
Federal and tourism generated funds. Operative administrative structure. Management plan in progress. Ongoing
research activities by CINVESTAV, Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C.. Supporting NGOs Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C.,
Asociados Náuticos de Cancún A.C., Asociados Náuticos y Subacúaticos de Isla Mujeres A.C. Established in
1973, was recategorized and expanded in 1996.

Parque Nacional Arrecife de Puerto Morelos


Local participation. Ongoing research activities by ICML-UNAM, Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C.. Supporting NGOs
Lu'um K'aanab A.C., Yum Balam A.C. Established in 1997

Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel


Federal and tourism generated funds. Operative administrative structure. Ongoing research activities by ICML-
UNAM, Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C.. Supporting NGOs Asociación Nacional de Operadores de Actividades
Acuáticas y Turisticas A.C. Management plan in progress. Established in 1980, was recategorized and expanded
in 1996.

Parque Natural Laguna de Chankanaab, Quintana Roo.


Self generated funds through entrance fees managed by a Trust (Patronato). Restoration actions of damage
caused by Hurricane Gilbert in progress within the cove. Managed as a recreational park. Ongoing research
activities by ICML-UNAM. Supporting NGO Patronato de Parques y Museos de Cozumel A.C. Established in
1983 by the State Government.

Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka'an


Federal and GEF funds. Operative administrative structure and management plan. Ongoing research activities by
CRIP- Puerto Morelos, ECOSUR, Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C., Facultad de Estudios Superiores-UNAM, ICML-
UNAM. Supporting NGO Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C. Established in 1986, was expanded in 1997 to include,
Reserva de la Biosfera Arrecifes de Sian Ka'an.

Reserva de la Biosfera Banco Chinchorro


Private funds being negotiated. No management structure. Basic studies for the management plan in progress.
Ongoing research activities by CRIP- Puerto Morelos, ECOSUR, Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C. Supporting NGO
Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C. Local participation being promoted. Established in 1996.

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Map 3.

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Map 4.

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New Protected Areas

The following protected areas projects that include coral reefs or communities are actively being promoted:

Pacific Ocean (Map 1)


- Marine zones for Islas del Golfo, B.C., B.C.S., Son., Sin.
- Islas Marías, Nay.
- Islas Marietas, Nay.
- Bahías de Huatulco, Oax.

Gulf of Mexico (Map 2)


- Arrecifes del Banco de Campeche, Camp., Yuc. 920,671Ha.

Caribbean Sea (Maps 3 and 4)


- Arrecifes de Xaman-Ha, Q. Roo
Pta Maroma Polygon 2,024 Ha.
Tulum Polygon 12,044 Ha.
- Arrecifes de la Costa Maya, Q. Roo
Uaymil Polygon 23,958 Ha.
Majahual Polygon 6,028 Ha.
- Arrecifes de Xcalak, Q. Roo 13,340 Ha. Marine, 4,037 Wetlands
- Arrecifes de Cozumel, Q. Roo
Northern Polygon 11,109 Ha.
Expansion of Southern Polygon 1,705 Ha.

2.2.5 National Committee for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mexican Reefs

The National Committee for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mexican Reefs is integrated by the Navy,
Environment Natural Resources and Fisheries, Communications and Transportation, and Tourism Secretariats,
the Governments of the states of Campeche, Quintana Roo, Veracruz and Yucatan and several private and public
research Institutions and NGOs of Mexico. Its functions are:
- To facilitate in the restoration, conservation, development and monitoring of Mexican reefs with the proper
authorities, through the elaboration of programs, projects, studies for sustainable development.
- To prioritize actions and investments for the sustainable development pertaining to the Mexican reef.
- To propose solutions for any problems affecting the conservation and sustainable development of the Mexican
reefs that have been analyzed and presented.
- To participate in obtaining financial resources for scientific research, actions and infrastructure for the
conservation and sustainable use of Mexican reefs.
- To support coordination among the private and social sectors with the public sector for the sustainable
development of the country's reefs.
- To support availability of information for sustainable protection, restoration, supervision, investment and
development of Mexican reefs.
- To propose to proper authorities the development of studies for the establishment of protected areas that protect
the biodiversity of Mexican Reefs.
- To strengthen the Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras Alliance in its efforts to successfully conserve and
sustainably develop the coral reefs of the Caribbean Mesoamerican Reef System.
- To support the development of environmental tourism in Mexican reefs.
- To promote scientific research and education on reefs, that will allow for greater understanding and decisions on
their management.
- To observe the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries which states development for responsible fishing as
an obligation and the protection of marine habitat and its diversity.
- To promote coordination among federal, state and municipal authorities responsible for the environment, natural
resources and fisheries, education and tourism as a way for the community and their authorities to manage and
conserve sustainably the Mexican reefs.
- Any others that its members deem necessary to achieve the objectives of the Committee.
(Convenio de Concertación... 1997)

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2.2.6 National Commission for the Understanding and Use of Biodiversity

D.O.F. 16/03/1992 Decreto por el que se crea la Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la
Biodiversidad.
The National Commission for the Understanding and Use of Biodiversity (Comisión Nacional para la
Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad- CONABIO)), exists to coordinate activities and research related to
understanding and preservation of biological species. CONABIO has the following responsibilities:
- Generating, compiling and maintaining a national inventory of flora and fauna.
- Synthesizing information related to national biological resources into a data base.
- Promoting development of projects concerning the potential and utilization of both conventional and non-
conventional biological reserves;
- Assisting other government agencies in the technical aspects and research related to the conservation and
utilization of biological resources.
- Promoting information dissemination to prevent the deterioration and destruction of the biological resources.
- Any other activities necessary to meet their objectives
(Adapted from Internet: http://www.cca.cec.org 1995)
To this date CONABIO has concentrated its efforts on terrestrial ecosystems, but is planning to include marine
biodiversity in its 1998 agenda.

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3. Mexican Coral Reefs and Communities: a National Perspective


3.1 Coral Reefs in the Global Context

Coral reefs are biodiversity-rich ecosystems found in over 100 countries that are highly valuable for coastal
communities of the tropics for food and ecological services such as storm buffering. They are increasingly
threatened by a range of human activities, including fishing, coral mining, tourism, sediment and pollution from
land-based activities, and global warming. By some estimates, 10 percent of coral reefs have already been lost,
and another 60 percent may disappear in the next twenty to forty years (Pain, cited in de Fontaubert et al. 1996).
Coral reefs are part of larger ecosystems including other habitat types such as seagrass beds and mangrove
forests. Because of the range of threats, and dependence of coral reefs on other parts of their ecosystem,
protective action cannot be limited to the reefs alone.

Coral reefs are massive marine structures formed by the accretion of the limestone skeletons of successive
generations of huge numbers of polyps, tiny, anemone-like animals. The true reef-building corals are the stony
corals, composed of hermatypic polyps containing symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) within their bodies. The algae
process the coral’s wastes, recycling vital nutrients and contributing to the ecosystem's high productivity.
Reef-building corals form three distinctive types of structures: fringing reefs close to the shore, barrier reefs
separated from the mainland by lagoons, and atolls that are circular reefs formed on the base of islands which
2
have long since submerged. The total area of all coral reefs is about 600,000 km , or slightly more than 0.1
percent of the Earth's surface.

Coral reefs are the mega-diversity areas of the oceans. They are biologically rich and highly productive systems,
endowed with a great diversity of species that display an equally impressive variety of organic form and color.
Scientists have identified about 93,000 species of organisms found in coral reefs, and by some estimates there
may be as many as one million species yet to be identified (Pain, cited in de Fontaubert et al. 1996).

Human communities, especially in coastal areas of the tropics, depend heavily on intact, productive coral reefs
and their resources. Reefs are crucial sources of food for many coastal communities, providing fish, mollusks, and
crustaceans, and they function as breeding grounds for many commercial species upon which even people inland
depend on. They are especially important for maintaining subsistence and artisan fisheries in island nations.
Reef-related tourism can be a very important source of foreign currency and local employment. Reefs also buffer
coastal communities against storms and wave erosion. An increasing number of biochemicals with medicinal and
other valuable applications are being discovered in species from reefs. In addition, some recent studies suggest
that reefs may counter global warming by sequestering carbon (i.e., removing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas,
from the atmosphere).

While coral reefs are highly adaptive to natural disturbances, they are extremely sensitive to human-induced
environmental change. Their fragility is compounded by their rate of regrowth, which is slow in comparison to the
rate of damage. Reefs grow no more than twelve meters (and often much less) in 1000 years. They have strict
environmental requirements, requiring a great deal of light, oxygen, water temperatures between twenty-two and
twenty-eight degrees Celsius, and low loads of suspended sediments.

This sensitivity renders coral reefs vulnerable to a wide range of stresses. Land-based activities pose some of the
most serious threats. Many corals are killed by sediment runoff due to deforestation, agriculture, and loss of
mangroves, which act as sediment traps. Pollution from sewage originating from coastal settlements causes
eutrophication, stimulating the growth of algae and smothering corals. Run-off from agricultural development on
coasts can have a similar over-fertilizing effect. Mining of living coral for use as building materials is another
significant impact in some places. Destructive fishing gear such as pole nets and dynamite, or fishing with poisons
like cyanide, cause long-lasting and sometimes irreversibly widespread repercussions. For example, overfishing
of algal-grazing fishes not only depletes the target species but can trigger the spread of harmful algae on the
surface of the corals, that results in degradation by smothering.

Climate change poses a severe long term threat because corals cannot live in waters over twenty-eight degrees
Celsius. Coral bleaching (in which the polyps expel the symbiotic algae) appears to be linked to water
temperature increases; after repeated bleaching, the coral dies. Researchers have recorded significant increases

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in water temperatures within coral reef areas over the last decade (Pain, World Resources Institute, Maragos et
al., cited in de Fontaubert et al. 1996).

What is needed to conserve coral reefs and their valuable resources? Areas of reef that are highly productive or
harbor a wide diversity of species are obvious targets for conservation. Many less obvious areas, ecologically
linked to reefs, are equally important and must also be protected. These typically include soft-bottom communities
adjacent to the reefs, seagrass meadows where many reef organisms feed and breed, mangrove forests that
provide nutrients and nursery areas for many species, and the major migration corridors that link these diverse
critical habitats. Any coral reef protection program will have to conserve all these critical areas to some degree in
order to be effective. The necessary measures will include control of land-based sources of pollution, designation
of protected areas in which uses are restricted, and regulation of resource uses to ensure sustainability.

While most attention is currently focused on reefs, it is important to note that many species of coral do not build
reefs. These coral communities may rival reefs in high productivity, and merit as much attention for conservation
as coral reefs themselves.

(de Fontaubert et al. 1996)

3.2 Mexican Coral Biogeography

3.2.1 General Biogeographical Framework for Mexico

Coral reefs are tropical shallow water ecosystems largely restricted to the seas between the latitudes of 30o N
and 30o S. The exact extent of coral reefs in the world is unknown and is very difficult to estimate. Smith (cited in
WCNC 1992) has calculated that there are 600,000 km2 of reefs to the depth of 30 m. About 60% of this total
occurs in the Indian Ocean region; approximately 14% in the Caribbean, 13% in the South Pacific (including
eastern Australia) and 12% in the North Pacific (including the Galapagos and west coast of North America. The
remaining 1% is divided between the South Atlantic and the Eastern Pacific. (WCNC 1992)

The global distribution of corals is defined by two centers of biodiversity. At the Indo-Pacific Centre, by far the
richest one, the highest diversity occurs in the Indonesian and Philippine archipelagoes. West from this Centre,
diversity remains approximately uniform across the coral regions of the Indian Ocean and into the Red Sea. East
from the Centre, diversity attenuates across the central and south Pacific, with depauperate outlying regions
occurring in Hawaii in the north, Easter Island in the southeast, and the Far Eastern Pacific (Veron 1993). The
Tropical Atlantic Centre, which is less diverse, includes the Eastern Coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, all the
Caribbean Sea Islands north to the Bahamas and south to the cost of Venezuela (Wells and Hanna, cited in
UNEP 1995).

The Atlantic has less than half the number of coral genera found in the Indo-west Pacific and only eight genera
are common to both areas (Acropora, Porites, Montastrea, Siderastrea, Madracis, Leptoseris ,Cladocera, Favia).
The region has a relatively homogeneous faunal assemblage of about 70 hermatypic scleractinean species.
Ahermatypic corals show a slightly greater proportion of genera in common between the Pacific and the
Caribbean (20 out of 150). The hydrozoan corals Millepora and Stylaster are widespread. (UNEP/IUCN 1988)

Mexico is one of the few countries that present a diverse coral fauna from both Centres, including octocorallia
(Alcyonacea and Gorgonacea, polips with eigth tentacles), hexacorallia (Scleractinia, polips with tentacles in
multiples of six) and hydrozoa ((Milleporina, Stylasterina, hydroid colonies that secrete hard and calcareous
skeletons). This compilation identified a total of 94 coral genera with 218 species for Mexico, not including Pacific
Ocean gorgonians. The Pacific Ocean presented a total of 23 genera with 51 species (excluding gorgonians) and
63 genera with 121 species were found for the Atlantic (see 3.3.1). A thesis about Pacific Ocean gorgonians
exists, however the document was not accessible.

Reefs fall into two basic categories: shelf reefs, which form on the continental shelf of large land masses; and
oceanic reefs, which develop in deeper waters often in association with oceanic islands. Within these two
categories are a number of different reef types: fringing reefs which grow close to the shore; patch reefs which

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form on irregularities on shallow parts of the sea bed; bank reefs which occur in deeper waters, both on the
continental shelf and in oceanic waters; barrier reefs which develop along the edge of a continental shelf or
through land subsidence in deeper waters and are separated from the mainland or island by a relatively deep,
wide lagoon; and atolls, which are roughly circular reefs around a central lagoon and are typically found in
oceanic waters, probably corresponding to the fringing reefs of long submerged islands. (WCNC 1992)

The true reef-building coral polyps are ones that collectively deposit calcium carbonate to build colonies. The term
"reef" is used here for a population of stony corals which continues to build on products of its own making
(Stoddart, cited in WCNC 1992). However, not all reefs are constructed predominantly of coral. For instance,
several genera of red algae grow as heavily calcified encrustations which bind the reef framework together,
forming structures such as algal ridges. Alternatively, populations of ahermatypic and non-symbiotic corals exist
which do not build reefs, while other populations do not build on themselves. (WCNC 1992) These have been
termed in this document as coral communities.

3.2.2 Coral Biogeography

Stony corals (Milleporina, Stylasterina, Scleractinia)

A list of 152 species of stony corals has been compiled by Horta-Puga and Carricart-Ganivet (1993) for Mexico.
Of these, one has been recorded for Milleporina, 12 species belong to four genera for Stylasterina and 139
species belonging to 69 different genera for Scleractinia.

Sixty nine Genera of stony corals can be found in Mexico. 56 in the Atlantic, 19 for the Pacific and six are shared
(Astrangia, Balanophyllia, Dendrophyllia, Paracyathus, Porites and Phyllangia). Other genera have species in
both oceans, but have not been registered on Mexico´s coasts.

Seventeen Families of stony corals can be found in Mexico. 15 in the Atlantic, nine in the Pacific and seven of
them are in both (Pocilloporidae, Acroporidae, Agariicidae, Poritidae, Rhizangiidae, Caryophyllidae and
Dendrophyliidae), although more families have representatives in both oceans if other latitudes are considered.

Twelve species of Stylasterina corresponding to four genera were registered. There are no common species
between both oceans.

One species of Milleporina was recognized by the authors for the Atlantic. It exists on both oceans but has not
registered in the Pacific for Mexico.

(Horta and Carricart 1993)

Hermatypic corals (Milleporina, Scleractinia)

Hermatypic corals in the oceans of the American continent are surprisingly different (Porter, cited in Cortés 1986).
There are only three Genera of coral in common among the Eastern Pacific and the Caribbean Sea: Acropora
(Cortés cited in UICN 1988) Porites and Millepora but they do not share common species.

Hermatypic corals of the Eastern Tropical Pacific are related to modern corals of the Western Indo-Pacific (Stehli
and Wells, Glynn et al., Dana, cited in Cortés 1986).

Atlantic hermatypic corals on the other hand, are considered to be relics of the coral fauna from the Mid Tertiary
Tetis Sea (Wells, cited in Cortés 1986).

The Caribbean Sea reefs have close to 75 species from 15 Families of the Order Scleractinia: Acroporidae,
Agariciidae, Astrocoeniidae, Caryophylliidae, Dendrophylliidae, Faviidae (dominant Family in the Caribbean),
Flabellidae, Guyniidae, Meandrinidae, Mussidae, Oculinidae, Pocilloporidae, Poritidae, Rhizangiidae,
Siderastreidae and the hydrozoan, Milleporidae (Wells, Smith, Cairns, cited in Cortés 1986).

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The Eastern Pacific has close to 22 species of Scleractinia in six Families; Acroporidae (Prahl y Mejia, cited in
UICN 1988), Agariciidae, Dendrophyllidae, Pocilloporidae (dominant in the reefs of Panama), Poritidae,
Thamnasteridae and the hydrozoan, Milleporidae (Durham, Glynn et al., Glynn et al., cited in Cortés 1986).

(Cortés 1986).

Sixty three species of hermatypic corals (Scleractinia and Milleporina) were classified in Mexico, 46 in the Atlantic
and 17 for the Pacific (Horta and Carricart 1993). Reyes Bonilla (1993) classified 15 species in five genera for the
Mexican Pacific.

3.3 Species Composition of Coral Reefs and Coral Communities

3.3.1 Coral Species List for Mexico

CODES
º = Families present in both oceans in Mexico
+ = Genus present in both oceans in Mexico
/ = Species present in both oceans, not registered for Mexico in one of them
A= Atlantic, P=Pacific, E=Endemic, H=Hermatypic, Ah=Ahermatypic, S=Stony corals, No.=Reference.

SPECIES CODES
Class Hydrozoa 1
Ordo Milleporina 1
Family Milleporidae 1
Millepora alcicornis A H S 1
Millepora complanata A H S 3
Millepora squarrosa A H S 3
Class Hydrozoa 1
Ordo Stylasterina 1
Family Stylasteridae 1
Subfamily Errininae 1
Errina altispina A E Ah S 1
Subfamily Distichoporinae 1
Distichopora rosalinda A E Ah S 1
Distichopora yucatensis A E Ah S 1
Subfamily Stylasterinae 1
Stylaster californicus P Ah S 1
Stylaster complanatus A Ah S 1
Stylaster duchassaingi A Ah S 1
Stylaster erubescens A Ah S 1
Stylaster inornatus A E Ah S 1
Stylaster laevigatus A E Ah S 1
Stylaster roseus A Ah S 1
Crypthelia glossopoma A E Ah S 1
Class Anthozoa 1
Subclass Alcyonaria u Octocoralia 1
Ordo Alcyonacea 1
Class Anthozoa
Subclass Alcyonaria or Octacoralia 1
Ordo Gorgonacea 5
Subordo Scleraxonia 5
Family Briareidae 5

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Briareum asbestinum A Ah 6
Family Anthotheiidae 5
Iciligorgia schrammi A Ah 6
Erythropodium caribaeorum A Ah 6
Subordo Holaxonia 5
Family Plexauridae 5
Eunicea asperula A Ah 17
Eunicea calyculata A Ah 6
Eunicea clavigera A Ah 10
Eunicea fusca A Ah 6
Eunicea laciniata A Ah 6
Eunicea laxispica A Ah 6
Eunicea mammosa A Ah 6
Eunicea palmeri A Ah 6
Eunicea succinea A Ah 6
Eunicea tournefortii A Ah 6
Muricea atlantica A Ah 6
Muricea elongata A Ah 6
Muricea laxa A Ah 6
Muricea pinnata A Ah 15
Muricea muricata A Ah 6
Muriceopsis flavida A Ah 6
Muriceopsis petila A Ah 10
Plexaurella dichotoma A Ah 6
Plexaurella fusifera A Ah 17
Plexaurella grandiflora A Ah 6
Plexaurella grisea A Ah 6
Plexaurella nutans A Ah 6
Plexaurella pumila A Ah 10
Plexaura flexuosa A Ah 6
Plexaura homomalla A Ah 6
Pseudoplexaura crucis A Ah 6
Pseudoplexaura flagellosa A Ah 6
Pseudoplexaura porosa A Ah 6
Pseudoplexaura wagenaari A Ah 6
Swiftia exserta A Ah 8
Family Gorgoniidae 5
Gorgonia flabellum A Ah 6
Gorgonia mariae A Ah 6
Gorgonia ventalina A Ah 6
Lophogorgia sanguinolenta A Ah 10
Lophogorgia sp P Ah 13
Pacifigorgia sp P Ah 13
Pterogorgia anceps A Ah 6
Pterogorgia citrina A Ah 6
Pterogorgia guadalupensis A Ah 6
Pseudopterogorgia acerosa A Ah 6
Pseudopterogorgia americana A Ah 6
Pseudopterogorgia bipinnata A Ah 6
Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae A Ah 6
Pseudopterogorgia hummelinckii A Ah 7
Pseudopterogorgia rigida A Ah 6
Family?
Eugorgia sp P Ah 13

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Filigella sp P Ah 13
Class Anthozoa 1
Subclass Alcyonaria u Octocoralia 1
Ordo Helioporacea 1

Class Anthozoa 1
Subclass Alcyonaria u Octocoralia 1
Ordo Stolonifera 1
Class Anthozoa 1
Subclass Zoantharia 3
Ordo Scleractinia 1
Subordo Astrocoeniina 1
Family Astrocoeniidae 1
Stephanocoenia intersepta A H S 1
Family Thamnasteridae 1
Psammocora brighami P H S 1
Psammocora superficialis P H S 11
Psammocora stellata P H S 1
Family Pocilloporidae º 1
Madracis dacactis A Ah S 1
Madracis A Ah S 1
myriaster pharensis
Madracis A Ah S 1
Madracis mirabilis A H S 1
Pocillopora damicornis P H S 1
Pocillopora elegans P H S 1
Pocillopora inflants P H S 16
Pocillopora meandrina P H S 1
Pocillopora palmata P E H S 1
Pocillopora verrucosa P H S 1
Family Acroporidae º 1
Acropora cervicornis A H S 1
Acropora palmata A H S 1
Acropora prolifera A H S 1
Montipora fragosa P E H S 1
Subordo Fungiina 1
Superfamily Agariicidae 1
Family Agariciidae º 1
Agaricia agariciates A H S 1
Agaricia fragilis A H S 1
Agaricia humilis A H S 7
Agaricia lamarcki A H S 1
Agaricia tenuifolia A H S 1
Agaricia undata A H S 1
Gardineroseris planulata P H S 16
Leptoseris cucullata A H S 1
Pavona clivosa P H S 1
Pavona frondifera P H S 16
Pavona gigantea P H S 1
Pavona varians P H S 16
Family Siderastreidae 1
Siderastrea radians A H S 1
Superfamily Fungiidae 1
Family Fungiidae 1

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Cycloseris elegans P H S 1
Cycloseris mexicana P H S 1
Fungia curvata P H S 11
Fungia distorta P H S 11
Fungiacyathus pusillcus A Ah S 1
Fungiacyathus symmetricus A Ah S 1

Superfamily Poritidae 1
Family Poritidae º 1
Porites astreoides + A H S 1
Porites baueri + P E H S 1
Porites branneri + A H S 1
Porites californica + P E H S 1
Porites colonesis + A H S 7
Porites divaricata + A H S 3
Porites lobata + P H S 11
Porites furcata + A H S 3
Porites panamensis + P H S 1
Porites porites + A H S 1
Subordo Faviina 1
Superfamily Faviicae 1
Family Faviidae 1
Subfamily Faviinae 1
Favia conferta A H S 1
Favia fragum A H S 1
Favia gravida A H S 1
Diploria clivosa A H S 1
Diploria labyrinthiformis A H S 1
Diploria strigosa A H S 1
Manicina areolata A H S 1
Colpophyllia breviserialis A H S 1
Colpophyllia natans A H S 1
Subfamily Montastreinae 1
Cladocora arbuscula / A H S 1
Montastrea annularis A H S 1
Montastrea cavernosa A H S 1
Montastrea faveolata A H S 2
Montastrea franksi A H S 2
Solenastrea bournoni A H S 1
Solenastrea hyades A H S 1
Family Rhizangiidae º 1
Astrangia brasiliensis + A Ah S 1
Astrangia browni + P E Ah S 1
Astrangia californica + P E Ah S 1
Astrangia conferta + P E Ah S 1
Astrangia costata + P Ah S 1
Astrangia dentata + P Ah S 1
Astrangia equatorialis + P Ah S 1
Astrangia haimei + P Ah S 1
Astrangia oaxacensis + P E Ah S 1
Astrangia solitaria + A Ah S 1
Astrangia tangolaensis + P Ah S 1
Colangia immersa A Ah S 1
Oelangia bradleyi P E Ah S 1

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Phyllangia americana + A Ah S 1
Phyllangia dispersa + P Ah S 1
Family Oculinidae 1
Subfamily Oculinidae 1
Oculina diffusa A H S 1
Oculina valenciennesi A H S 1
Madrepora carolina A Ah S 1
Madrepora oculata / A Ah S 1

Family Meandrinidae 1
Meandrina meandrites A H S 1
Subfamily Dichocoeniinae 1
Dichocoenia stokesi A H S 1
Dendrogyra cylindrus A H S 1
Family Mussiidae 1
Isophyllastrea rigida A H S 1
Isophyllia sinuosa A H S 1
Mycetophyllia aliciae A H S 1
Mycetophyllia danana A H S 1
Mycetophyllia ferox A H S 1
Mycetophyllia lamarckiana A H S 1
Mussa angulosa A H S 1
Mussismilia harttii A H S 1
Scolymia lacera A H S 1
Subordo Caryophyllina 1
Superfamily Caryophylliicae 1
Family Caryophyllidae 1
Subfamily Caryophylliinae º 1
Bathycyathus consagensis P E Ah S 1
Caryophyllia ambrosia Ah S 1
Caryophyllia berteriana A Ah S 1
Caryophyllia cornuformis A Ah S 1
Caryophyllia parvula A Ah S 1
Caryophyllia polygona A Ah S 1
Ceratotrochus franciscana P E Ah S 1
Coenocyathus bowersi P Ah S 1
Concentrotheca laevigata A Ah S 1
Deltocyathus calcar A Ah S 1
Deltocyathus eccentricus A Ah S 1
Deltocyathus italicus A Ah S 1
Heterocyathus aequicostatus P Ah S 1
Labyrinthocyathus langi i A Ah S 1
Paracyathus humilis + P Ah S 1
Paracyathus pulchellus + A Ah S 1
Paracyathus tiburonensis + P E Ah S 1
Paracyathus stearnsii + P Ah S 1
Stephanocyathus coronatus A Ah S 1
Stephanocyathus diadema A Ah S 1
Stephanocyathus paliferus A Ah S 1
Tethocyathus recurvatus A Ah S 1
Tethocyathus variabilis A Ah S 1
Trochocyathus fasciatus A Ah S 1
Trochocyathus rawsonii A Ah S 1

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Subfamily Turbinoliinae 1
Peponocyathus stimpsonii A Ah S 1
Sphenotrochus hancocki P Ah S 1
Subfamily Desmophyllinae 1
Thalamophyllia riisei A Ah S 1
Subfamily Parasmilliinae 1
Anomocora fecunda A Ah S 1
Asterosmilia prolifera A Ah S 1
Coenosmilia arbuscula A Ah S 1
Phacelocyathus flos A Ah S 1
Rhizosmilia maculata A Ah S 1
Subfamily Eusmiliinae 1
Eusmilia fastigiata A H S 1
Superfamily Flabellicae 1
Family Flabellidae 1
Flabellum fragile A Ah S 1
Flabellum moseleyi A Ah S 1
Gardineria paradoxa A Ah S 1
Javania cailleti A Ah S 1
Polymices fragilis A Ah S 1
Family Guyniidae 1
Guynia annulata A Ah S 1
Schizocyathus fissilis A Ah S 1
Stenocyathus vermiformis A Ah S 1
Subordo Dendrophylliina 1
Family Dendrophyllidae 1
Balanophyllia bayeri + A Ah S 1
Balanophyllia cedrosensis + P Ah S 1
Balanophyllia cyathoides + A Ah S 1
Balanophyllia elegans + P Ah S 1
Balanophyllia palifera + A Ah S 1
Balanophyllia tiburonensis + P Ah S 1
Dendrophyllia californica P Ah S 1
Dendrophyllia cortezi + P E Ah S 1
Dendrophyllia gaditana + A Ah S 1
Endopachys vaughani P Ah S 1
Rhizopsammia manuelensis A Ah S 1
Tubastrea aurea / P H S 1
Tubastrea coccinea A Ah S 14
Class Anthozoa 1
Subclass Ceriantiphataria 1
Ordo Anthipataria 1
Family ?
Antiphates atlantica A Ah 4
Antiphates caribbeana A Ah 4
Antiphates galapagensis P Ah 9
Antiphates gracilis A Ah 4
Antiphates hirta A Ah 9
Antiphates lenta A Ah 4
Antiphates pennacea A Ah 4
Cirrhipathes leutkeni A Ah 18
Cirrhipathes seticornis A Ah 18
Cirrhiphates sp A Ah 4

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Note 1. Supraespecific categories listed according to Boschma (1956) for Milleporina, Cairns (1983) for
Stylasterina, Wells (1956) for Scleractinia and Bayer (1961) for Gorgonacea.
Note 2. Astrangia conferta was not included in Horta-Puga’s list (1993), however is mentioned as an
endemic species in that paper.

REFERENCES:
1. Horta-Puga (1993) 10. Jordán (1980).
2. Weil and Knowlton (1994) Cited in Humann (1994) 11. Reyes-Bonilla (1993)
3. Carricart-Ganivet et al. (1996) 12. López et al. (1996)
4. García et al. (1997) 13. UNEP/IUCN (1988)
5. Bayer (1961) 14. Lara et al. (1994)
6. Ibarra (1997) 15. García et al. (1997)
7. Gutiérrez et al. (1995) 16. Leyte (1996)
8. Gutierrez et al. (1996) 17. Dominguez (1993)
9. Dra. Claudia Padilla Souza. Personal communication 18. Britton et al. (1989)

3.3.2 Endemic Species

There are 19 species of stony corals considered to be endemic to Mexico. However, due to the capacity for
dispersal, and as more extensive studies may show, these species could be present in other regions as well.
(Horta and Carricart 1993)

Species Locations
Stylasterina
Errina altispina R.T.L. Arrowsmith Bank, Q.Roo
Stylaster inornatus R.T.L. Arrowsmith Bank, Q.Roo
Stylaster laevigatus R.T.L. Arrowsmith Bank, Q.Roo
Crypthelia glossopoma R.T.L. Yucatan Channel
Distichopora rosalindae Restricted to Mexican Caribbean
Distichopora yucatanensis Restricted to Mexican Caribbean

Scleractinia
Pocillopora palmata + R.T.L. Puerto Angel, Oax.
Montipora fragosa + R.T.L. La Paz, B.C.S
Astrangia browni + R.T.L. Puerto Angel, Oax.
Astrangia oaxacaensis *+ R.T.L. Puerto Angel, Oax.
Oulangia bradleyi R.T.L. Tenacatita Bay, Jal.
Bathycyathus consagensis Both coasts of Baja California
Porites californica * Both coasts of Baja California
Ceratotrochus franciscana Gulf of California
Paracyathus tiburonensis Gulf of California
Dendrophyllia cortezi Gulf of California
Porites baueri + Islas Marias, Nay.
Astrangia conferta + Mexican Pacific
Astrangia californica *+% Mexican Pacific

R.T.L = Restricted to type locality


+ = inhabitants of shallow waters
* = modified by Carricart-Ganivet pers. com. (1997)
% = Species that does not appear in the same article on the list.
(Horta and Carricart 1993)

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3.3.3 Species Distribution

The following tables were compiled from existing sources, in order to identify the general distribution patterns of
coral species in Mexico.

3.3.3.1 Pacific Ocean Coral Species Distribution

Key to Table 4.

LOCATIONS REFERENCES
Sonora Oceanic 1. Horta-Puga et al. 1993
2. Sánchez et al., 1992
a. San Esteban Island A. Revillagigedo Islands 3. Reyes 1993
b. Guaymas B. Socorro Island 4. UNEP/IUCN 1988
c. Tiburón Island C. Clarión Island 5. Leyte 1996a.
d. Punta Cholla 6. López et al. 1996
e. Rio Yaqui to Huatabampo 7. Leyte 1996b.
8. Squires 1959
Northern Baja California Nayarit

f. Bahía Sn L. Gonzaga D. Jaltemba Island


g. I. Angel de la Guarda E. Guayabitos Bay
h. Isla Cedros F. Marías Islands
i. Canal de Sn Lorenzo
Jalisco
G. Banderas Bay
H. Cape Corrientes
I. Tenacatita Bay

Southern Baja California Guerrero


j. Concepción Bay
k. Coronados Island J. Tlalcoyuque Beach to Río Cortéz
l. Isla del Carmen K. Acapulco
m. Puerto Escondido
n. Agua Verde Bay Oaxaca
o. San Diego Island L. Puerto Angelito
p. San José Island M. Puerto Escondido
q. Magdalena Bay N. East of Puerto Angel (Tijera Beach) to Punta Cometa
r. San Francisco Island O. Huatulco Bay
s. Partida Island P. Tangola Bay
t. Espíritu Santo Island Q. Oaxaca Coast (Additional)
u. Ballena Island
v. Cerralvo Island
w. La Paz Bay
x. Cabo Pulmo/Frailes
y. Los Cabos
z. Gulf of California (Additional)

Table 4

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SPECIES DISTRIBUTION IN THE MEXICAN PACIFIC


S P E CIE S SONORA BCN BCS Ocea. Nay. Jal. Guerr. Oaxaca
O rd er S tylasterin a a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q

F am ily S tylasterid ae
Stylaster californicus 1

O rd er S cleractin ia

F am ily Den d rop h yllid ae


Balanophyllia cedrosensis 1

Balanophyllia elegans 1

Balanophyllia tiburonensis 1 1

Dendrophyllia californica 1
Dendrophyllia cortezi 1 1 1

Endopachys vaughani 1 1 1 1 8

T ubastrea aurea 1 1 1

T ubastrea coccinea 6
T ubastrea sp 4

F am ily Caryop h yllid ae

Bathycyathus consagensis 1 1
Bathycyathus sp 4

Ceratotrochus franciscana 1 1

Coenocyathus bowersi 1 1 1
Heterocyathus aequicostatus 1 1

Paracyathus humilis 1
Paracyathus stearnsii 1
Paracyathus tiburonesis 1 1 1 1
Sphenotrochus hancocki 1

F am ily Rh iz an g iid ae

Astrangia californica 1 1 1 1

Astrangia conferta 8 8 8

Astrangia costata 8

Astrangia browni 1
Astrangia dentata 1 1

Astrangia equatorialis 1

Astrangia haimei 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Astrangia oaxacensis 1

Astrangia tangolaensis 1

Oelangia bradleyi 1
Phyllangia dispersa 1 1

F am ily F u n g iid ae

Cycloseris elegans 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 1

Cycloseris mexicana 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 1 1 1
Fungia curvata 3
Fungia distorta 3

F am ily P oritid ae
Porites baueri 3

Porites californica 1 1 1 4 1 4 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 4 1
Porites lobata 3 3 6
Porites panamensis 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 1 5 5 5 5

F am ily Ag ariciid ae

Gardineroseris planulata 5 5 5 5

Pavona clivosa 3 1 1 1 6 5 5 5 5

Pavona frondifera 7
Pavona gigantea 3 1 1 1 1 1 2 5 5 5 5
Pavona varians 7

F am ily P ocillop orid ae

Pocillopora damicornis 1 1 1 3 1 6 5 5 5 5
Pocillopora meandrina 3 1 1 1 1 6

Pocillopora palmata 1
Pocillopora inflants 7
Pocillopora elegans 1 3 1 1 4 1 1 4 4 2 2 1 6 5 5 5 5

Pocillopora verrucosa 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 8 1 6 5 5 5 5
Pocillopora sp 3 3 4 4

F am ily T h am n asterid ae
Psammocora superficialis 3

Psammocora brighami 3 2
Psammocora stellata 3 1 1 1

F am ily Acrop orid ae


Montipora fragosa 8
G E NE RA 5 9 18 7 4 7 3 5
S P E CIE S 8 13 32 7 9 11 6 16

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3.3.2.2 Atlantic Ocean Coral Species Distribution


Key to Tables 5a, 5b, 5c.
LOCATION
North/Gulf Atlantic
A. Bermuda
B. Bahamas y S Florida
C. Florida Middle Ground
D. Flower Gardens
Veracruz
E. Northern Veracruz Reefs
F. Southern Veracruz Reef System
Campeche
G. Cayo Arcas
H. Triángulos
I. Cayo Arenas
J. Campeche Bank (Additional)
Yucatán
K. Arrecife Alacrán
Quintana Roo
L. Contoy Island-Pta Cancún
M. Pta. Nizuc-Pto Aventuras
N. Pto. Aventuras-Tulum
O. Sian Ka´an
P. Pta Pulticub-Boca Bacalar Chico
Q. Arrowsmith Bank
R. Cozumel Island
S. Chinchorro Reef
T. Mexican Carribbean (Additional)
Belize
U. Carrie Bow Cay, Belize

REFERENCES
1. Bright et al. 1984
2. Horta-Puga et al. 1993
3. Ferré-D´Amaré 1995
4. Carricart-Ganivet et al. 1997
5. Reyes-Castro et al. 1989
6. Lara et al. 1994
7. Gutiérrez et al. 1995
8. Gutiérrez et al 1993
9. Gutiérrez et al. 1992
10. Gutiérrez et al. 1996
11. García et al. 1997 (a)
12. García et al. 1997 (b)
13. Jordán 1987
14. Cairns 1982
15. Parque Nac. Costa Occ. Isla Mujeres, Pta Cancún y Pta Nizuc
16. Ibarra 1997.
17. Jordán 1980
18. Muzik 1982
19. Chavez 1985
20. Castañares et al. 1982
21. Jordán 1993
22. Britton et al. 1989
23. Dominguez et al. 1993
24. Kornicker et al. 1959

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Table 5a.
SPECIES DISTRIBUTION IN THE MEXICAN ATLANTIC AND CARIBBEAN
S P E CIE S North/Gulf Atlantic Veracruz Campeche Yuc Quintana Roo C.B
O rd er M illep orin a A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U
F am ily M illep orid ae
Millepora alcicornis 1 1 1 1 22 23 21 19 4 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Millepora complanata 1 1 21 19 19 4 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Millepora squarrosa 2 2 4 5 17 2 13
O rd er S tylasterin a
F am ily S tylasterid ae
Crypthelia glossopoma 2
Distichopora rosalindae 2
Distichopora yucatensis 2 2
Errina altispina 2
Stylaster complanatus 2 2
Stylaster duchassaingi 2
Stylaster erubescens 2
Stylaster inornatus 2
Stylaster laevigatus 2
Stylaster roseus 2 2 2 14
O rd er S cleractin ia
F am ily Astrocoen iid ae
Stephanocoenia intersepta 1 1 1 1 2 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
F am ily P ocillop orid ae
Madracis asperula 1 1
Madracis decactis 1 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Madracis myriaster 2
Madracis formosa 10 11
Madracis mirabilis 1 1 1 2 8 9 10 11 12 14
Madracis pharensis 10 2 14
F am ily Acrop orid ae
Acropora cervicornis 1 2 2 3 3 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Acropora palmata 1 2 2 3 3 19 24 5 7 8 9 10 2 12 14
Acropora prolifera 1 2 2 2 2 2 10 13 14
F am ily Ag ariciid ae
Agaricia agariciates 1 1 22 2 21 19 4 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Agaricia fragilis 1 1 1 1 2 2 21 19 4 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Agaricia grahamae 1 10 12
Agaricia humilis 15 7 8 10 11 12
Agaricia lamarcki 1 2 4 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Agaricia tenuifolia 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Agaricia undata 1 2 8 9 10 11 12
Leptoseris cucullata 1 1 2 4 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
F am ily S id erastreid ae
Siderastrea radians 1 1 1 1 2 2 21 19 4 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
F am ily F u n g iid ae
Fungiacyathus pusillcus 2
Fungiacyathus symmetricus 2
F am ily P oritid ae
Porites astreoides 1 1 1 2 2 21 19 4 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Porites branneri 1 1 2 2 4 7 8 10 11 12
Porites colonesis 7 10
Porites porites 1 1 1 1 2 2 21 19 19 4 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 20
F am ily F aviid ae
Colpophyllia natans 1 1 2 2 3 3 19 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Colpophyllia breviserialis 1 3 3 2 2 8 9 10 11 12
Cladocora arbuscula 1 1 3 3 5 2 14
Diploria clivosa 1 1 2 2 3 3 19 24 5 7 8 9 10 2 12 14
Diploria labyrinthiformis 1 1 2 2 3 3 19 24 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Diploria strigosa 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 19 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 20
Favia conferta 2 5
Favia fragum 1 1 2 3 3 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Favia gravida 5
Manicina areolata 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Montastrea annularis 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 19 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Montastrea cavernosa 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 19 24 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Montastrea faveolata 4
Montastrea franksi 4
Solenastrea bournoni 1 5 7 8 9 10 11 13 20
Solenastrea hyades 1 5 7 8 9 10 12

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Table 5b.
North/Gulf Atlantic Veracruz Campeche Yuc Quintana Roo Bel
S P E CIE S A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U
F am ily Rh iz an g iid ae
Astrangia brasiliensis 2
Astrangia solitaria 2 14
Colangia immersa 2 14
Phyllangia americana 2 23 14
F am ily O cu lin id ae
Madrepora carolina 2
Madrepora oculata 2 2 2
Oculina diffusa 2 2 3 3 5 17
Oculina valenciennesi 2 5
F am ily M ean d rin id ae
Dichocoenia stokesi 1 1 1 2 3 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Dendrogyra cylindrus 1 15 2 8 9 10 11 12 14
Meandrina brasiliensis 1 1
Meandrina meandrites 1 1 1 2 3 3 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
F am ily M u ssiid ae
Isophyllastrea rigida 1 1 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Isophyllia sinuosa 1 1 2 21 5 7 8 9 10 2 12 14
Mycetoophyllia aliciae 1 3 3 15 7 8 9 10 2 12 14
Mycetophyllia danaana 1 2 4 2 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Mycetophyllia ferox 1 4 2 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Mycetophyllia lamarckiana 1 1 2 2 3 3 19 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Mussa angulosa 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 24 2 7 8 9 10 11 12 14
Mussismilia harttii 2
Scolymia lacera 1 1 1 2 4 2 7 8 9 10 2 12 14
F am illy Caryop h yllid ae
Anomocora fecunda 2 2
Asterosmilia prolifera 2
Caryophyllia ambrosia 2 2 2
Caryophyllia berteriana 2 2
Caryophyllia cornuformis 2
Caryophyllia polygona 2
Caryophyllia parvula 2
Coenosmilia arbuscula 2 2
Concentrotheca laevigata 2
Deltocyathus calcar 2 2
Deltocyathus eccentricus 2 2 2
Deltocyathus italicus 2 2
Labyrinthocyathus langi 2
Paracyathus pulchellus 2 2 2
Peponocyathus stimpsonii 2
Phacelocyathus flos 2
Rhizosmilia maculata 2
Stephanocyathus coronatus 2 2
Stephanocyathus diadema 2 2
Stephanocyathus paliferus 2 2
T ethocyathus recurvatus 2
T ethocyathus variabilis 2
T halamophyllia riisei 2 2
T rochocyathus fasciatus 2
T rochocyathus rawsonii 2
Eusmilia fastigiata 1 1 2 3 3 24 15 7 8 9 10 11 13 14
F am ily F lab ellid ae
Flabellum fragile 2
Flabellum moseleyi 2
Javania cailleti 2 2
Polymices fragilis 2 2
Gardineria minor 14
Gardineria paradoxa 2
F am ily G u yn iid ae
Guynia annulata 2
Schizocyathus fissilis 2
Stenocyathus vermirformis 2
F am ily Den d rop h yllid ae
Balanophyllia cyathoides 2
Balanophyllia bayeri 2
Balanophyllia palifera 2
Dendrophyllia gaditana 2
Rhizopsammia manuelensis 2
T ubastrea coccinea 6
G E NE RA 24 28 35 12 55 29
S P E CIE S 34 43 56 17 101 44

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Table 5c
O rd er G org on acea A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U
F am ily Briareid ae
Briareum asbestinum 22 19 19 21 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
F am ily An th oth eiid ae
Erythropodium caribearum 23 21 21 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Iciligorgia schrammi 15 8 9 10 11 12 18
F am ily P lexau rid ae
Eunicea asperula 23
Eunicea calyculata 21 21 21 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Eunicea clavigera 21 21 21 17 18
Eunicea fusca 22 15 7 8 9 10 11 12
Eunicea laciniata 22 21 17 8 10 18
Eunicea laxispica 15 7 8 9 10 12
Eunicea mammosa 21 21 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Eunicea palmeri 7 8 9 10 11 12
Eunicea succinea 21 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Eunicea tournefortii 21 21 6 7 8 9 10 12
Muricea atlantica 21 21 21 21 15 7 8 9 10 18
Muricea elongata 15 7 8 9 10 11
Muricea laxa 15 7 8 9 10 11 12
Muricea muricata 21 21 21 21 15 7 8 9 10 11 12
Muricea pinnata 10 11
Muriceopsis flavida 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Muriceopsis petila 17 18
Plexaurella dichotoma 21 21 19 21 6 7 8 9 10 12 18
Plexaurella fusifera 23
Plexaurella grandiflora 15 7 8 10 12
Plexaurella grisea 21 6 7 8 9 10 12 18
Plexaurella nutans 21 15 7 8 9 10 11 12
Plexaurella pumila 17
Plexaura flexuosa 21 8 21 19 21 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Plexaura homomalla 22 21 21 21 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Pseudoplexaura crucis 6 7 8 10
Pseudoplexaura flagellosa 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Pseudoplexaura porosa 8 21 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Pseudoplexaura wagenaari 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Swiftia exserta 10
T hesea plana 18
F am ily G org on id ae
Gorgonia flabellum 22 21 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Gorgonia mariae 15 7 8 10 11 12 18
Gorgonia ventalina 22 19 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Leptogorgia virgulata 12
Lophogorgia sanguinolenta 17
Pterogorgia anceps 21 6 7 8 9 10 12 18
Pterogorgia citrina 22 21 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Pterogorgia guadalupensis 15 7 8 9 10 11 12
Pseudopterogorgia acerosa 21 8 21 21 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Pseudopterogorgia americana 22 21 19 19 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Pseudopterogorgia bipinnata 15 7 8 9 10 11 12 18
Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae 7 8 10 12
Pseudopterogorgia hummelinckii 7 12
Pseudopterogorgia kallos 21 18
Pseudopterogorgia rigida 15 7 8 10 12 18
O rd er An th ip ataria
F am ily ?
Antiphates pennacea 10 12
Antiphates caribbeana 12
Antiphates atlantica 12
Antiphates gracilis 12
Antiphates lenta 12
Antiphates sp 22
Cirrhiphates seticornis 22 12
Cirrhipathes leutkeni 22
Cirrhiphates sp 22
G E NE RA 2 11 7 10 17 13
S P E CIE S 0 21 13 21 51 28

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3.3.3.3 Sponge Species Distribution

The Phylum Porifera is one of the least studied invertebrate Phyla in Mexico and the world, mainly due to the
sponge’s characteristics which represent a huge plasticity in response to the local and geographic environment.
Also, many of the morphological characteristics subject to change, make the selection of characteristics used in
delimiting the systematic categories be difficult and subjective (López 1992).

On account of this, the biological understanding of these organisms has developed quite slowly, even though they
offer the marine environment and pharmacology distinct values of interest and importance.

In the seas the number of species of sponges is approximately 9,000 which constitute a large part of the epifaunal
biomass. Sponges represent the first efforts of cellular association in differentiated layers. They possess a level of
tissue organization that encompasses all four basic tissues. It has also been noted that sponges play an important
role in territorial competition along with other sessile organisms like algae, crinoids, annelids, bryozoans, and
tunicates. On account of its habitat, they represent an important component within the coral ecosystem, since
they supply housing for a number of organisms like: brittle stars, crustaceans, fish, mollusks, corals, principally
zoanthids and green algae; defined associations with bivalves, spider crabs and shrimp also exist. (Green,
Bergquist, cited in López, 1992).

Apart from the sponge’s ecological and taxonomical aspects considered important, there are also
pharmacological aspects that offer new window into natural products of interest to man, mainly antimicrobacterial
and anticancerous substances (Green, cited in López 1992).

Some studies from the Caribbean Sea and adjacent areas have been carried out by foreign researchers. One of
the most comprehensive taxonomical studies carried out was conducted by Wiedenmayer (cited in Green 1984),
which included 82 species of sponges of the Western Bahamas, mainly around the Bimini area. Van Soest (cited
in Green 1984) carried out a taxonomical study of 33 species from the Order Keratosa in the Western Indies
(Curacao and other islands of the Caribbean). The following authors have contributed in one way or another to
the understanding of this phylum: Verrill (cited in Green 1984), studied sponges of the Bermuda Islands and the
Bahamas Islands; de Laubenfels (cited in Green 1984), the sponges in the Western Indies, in waters adjacent to
Florida and the biology of sponges in general; Osorio and Cárdenas (cited in Green 1984) and Storr (cited in
Green 1984), commercial sponges in the western coast of Quintana Roo and adjacent waters to Florida,
respectively; Hartman (cited in Green 1984), sponges from the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico;
Little (cited in Green 1984), sponges in waster close to Florida; Hechtel (cited in Green 1984) the Demospongiaes
in Puerto Royal, Jamaica; Green (cited in Green 1984) and Fuentes (cited in Green 1984), a taxonomical
synopsis of sponges in the reef La Blanquilla, Veracruz, consisting of 27 different species described in both
studies; Hartman and Goreau (cited in Green 1984), coral sponges (Sclerospongiae) in Jamaica. Núñez (cited in
Green 1984), described nine species of sponges in the lagoons of Términos, Campeche and its environmental
parameters. Gómez and Green (1984), did a systematic study of the sponges of Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo
while López (1992) studied the reefs of Antón Lizardo and Puerto de Veracruz. (Map 6 and table 6)

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Map 6.

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Table 6. Porifera. Species present in Mexican seas. (Sánchez et al. 1992)

PACIFIC OCEAN
Class Orders Families Genera Species Important Families

Calcarea 1 1 1 1
Demospongiae 9 19 29 36 Geoiidae
Suberitidae
Axinellidae
Myxillidae
Halicionidae
Callyspongidae
GULF OF MEXICO
Class Order Families Genera Species Important Families

Demospongiae 8 15 18 20 Agelasidae
Esperiopsidae
Mycalidae
Niphatidae
Callyspongiidae
Thorecitidae
Aplysinidae

CARIBBEAN
Class Order Families Genera Species Important Families

Demospongiae 11 30 37 54 Geoiidae
Vaspidae
Tetillidae
Spirastellidae
Clionidae
Placospongiidae
Suberitidae
Axinellidae
Agelasidae
Desmoxyidae
Calthropellidae
Stellidae
Thrombidae
Siphoniidae
Esperiopsidae
Mycalidae
Biemnidae
Myxillidae
Microcionidae
Nepheliospongidae
Haliclonidae
Niphatidae
Callyspongiidae
Spongiidae
Thorestidae
Aplysinidae

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3.4 Distribution of Coral Reefs and Coral Communities in Mexico

Coral reefs and communities in Mexico can be grouped into four large zones: Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico-
Veracruz, Gulf of Mexico-Campeche Bank and Caribbean Sea. Coral communities predominate in the Pacific
Ocean zone, where only a few sites present true coral reefs of limited size. Nearshore coral reefs are found on
two sites in the Gulf of Mexico-Veracruz zone and more abundant distant offshore reefs in the Gulf of Mexico-
Campeche Bank zone. The Caribbean Sea zone presents the best developed reef system for Mexico, basically a
fringing reef that develops all the way to Xcalak, Mexico, into Ambergris Key, Belize, where it becomes the Belize
Barrier Reef.

3.4.1 General Characteristics and Distribution Pacific Ocean.

Reef building corals were originally considered to be rare in the Eastern Pacific, but recent research has shown
abundant coral populations despite the small size of the reefs (a few hectares or less in area), their discontinuous
occurrence (absent from sand/mud coastal stretches and meagre development in areas experiencing upwelling
and high river drainage (Dana; Glynn and Wellington, cited in UNEP/IUCN 1988). Reefs are found in the Gulf of
California, and off the coasts of Mexico. The Gulf of California is the northernmost limit for hermatypic growth with
El Pulmo reef near the tip of Baja California probably being the northernmost reef. (UNEP/IUCN 1988)

In the Mexican Pacific there are no true reef structure developments, only coral communities established over
hard substrate. Maybe the only existing reefs are at Cabo Pulmo, Ensenada Grande on Isla Espiritu Santo
(Reyes-Bonilla, 1993), and on specific sites along the southern coast of Oaxaca (Leyte 1996). These sites
present true growth, with enough calcium carbonate deposits to create an elevated structure. Coral communities
generally present themselves along all the coastal zone, occupying rocky areas between 0 and 30 m in depth.
The communities are composed of few species, mainly ramifications of the species Porites, Pavona,
Psammocora and Fungia. There is no clear zonation pattern but changes do occur in the community structure at
different depths. (Reyes-Bonilla 1993)

Pacific Ocean coral communities and reefs were geographically grouped using the Biophysical Coastal and
Marine Classification System (Neritic Provinces in this document) proposed by Carlton Ray et al. (1994), the open
ocean and marginal seas realms (Oceanic Provinces in this document) adapted by Carlton Ray et al. from
Dietrich (1963), modified and detailed (proposed Subprovinces) by Bezaury et al. (1996), as follows:

Pacific Ocean
(San Diegan, Cortezian and Mexican Neritic Provinces)
(Northeastern Temperate Pacific, Gulf of California Oceanic Provinces)

A. Gulf of California, Reef and Coral Communities


(Cortezian Neritic Province)
(Gulf of California Oceanic Province)

A.1 Central Gulf


(Salsipuedes, Southcalifornian and Sonoran Neritic Subprovinces)

A.2 Southern Gulf


Gulf-Cape, Sinaloan-Nayaritan and Islas Marias Neritic Subprovinces)

B. Pacific Coast Coral Communities


(San Diegan and Mexican Neritic Provinces)
(Northeastern Temperate Pacific Oceanic Province)

B.1 Offshore Islands


(Northeastern Temperate Pacific Oceanic Province)

B.2 Baja California Coast


(San Diegan Neritic Provinces)

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(Pacific Cape Subprovince)

B.3 Jalisco Coast


(Mexican Neritic Province)
(Jalisco-Oaxacan Subprovince)

B.4 Guerrero-Oaxaca Coast


(Mexican Neritic Province)
(Jalisco-Oaxacan Subprovince)

A. Gulf of California, Reef and Coral Communities

A.1 Central Gulf

Isla San Luis Gonzaga (San Luis), Baja California Norte.


(map in Reyes Bonilla 1993)

Gulf of California from north of Isla Ángel de la Guardia, Baja California Norte, to Bahía Concepción, Baja
California Sur.
Presence of Porites panamensis (Sanchez A. 1992). P. panamensis is considered to be the only common coral
reef present north of Concepción Bay (Glynn and Wellington, cited in IUCN 1988). Porites californica (Sin.: P.
sverdrupi) much less abundant, is the only other coral that can survive the low temperatures of the upper Gulf. It
is an endemic species that has inhabited the Gulf since the Pliocene and is probably a relict undergoing a natural
process of extinction (Reyes Bonilla 1993)

Isla Las Animas, (Anima? D.O.F. 02/08/1978 o San Lorenzo Norte, Secr. Gob. 1981), Baja California Norte
Coral Communities may occur (UNEP/IUCN 1988).

Isla San Esteban


Presence of Astrangia haimei and Porites californica (Squires 1959).

Gulf of California from south of Isla Tiburón to Punta Baja, Sonora.


Presence of Porites panamensis (Sanchez 1992).

Gulf of California from south of the Río Yaqui to Huatabampo, Sonora.


Presence of Porites panamensis (Sanchez 1992).

A.2 Southern Gulf

Bahía Concepción, Baja California Sur.


Corals can be found with some abundance (Reyes Bonilla 1993)

Islas Coronado, Baja California Sur.


Coral formations are composed predominantly by Porites californica are found (UNEP/IUCN 1988).

Isla del Carmen, Baja California Sur.


Scattered colonies of Porites are found on isolated rock patches at Marquer Bay. At Bahía de Salinas, coral
formations composed predominantly by Porites californica are found (UNEP/IUCN 1988).

Puerto Escondido, Baja California Sur.


Coral formations composed predominantly by Porites californica are found in the inner harbor (UNEP/IUCN
1988).

Bahía de Agua Verde, (Puerto Agua Verde?), Baja California Sur.


Coral formations composed predominantly by Porites californica are found (UNEP/IUCN 1988).

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Map 7

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San Telmo, Baja California Sur.


San Telmo reefs are situated north of San Carlos Bay, just south of San Telmo Point (UNEP/IUCN 1988).

Isla San Diego, Baja California Sur.


Coral communities may occur in the San Diego Reef (UNEP/IUCN 1988).

Isla San José, Baja California Sur.


Corals form patches of a few square meters in surface (Squires, Reyes Bonilla, cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993).

Isla San Francisco, Baja California Sur.


Corals form patches of a few square meters in surface (Squires, Reyes Bonilla, cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993).

Isla Espíritu Santo, Baja California Sur.


Dense growth of Porites and Pocillopora elegans are found in San Gabriel Bay on the south-east side of the
island. A small Pocillopora reef community is found off the west side of the island (UNEP/IUCN 1988). In
Ensenada Grande, there is a concentration of corals that can be called a small coral reef (0.3 Ha.) formed by the
species Pocillopora with over 40% substrate coverage (Reyes Bonilla 1993).

Isla Ballena, Baja California Sur.


A dense growth of Pocillopora elegans is found on the northeastern side of the bay that thins progressively on the
eastern side, only scattered heads are found in the southeastern portion and no coral was found in the southern
sector (Squires 1959).

Bahía de la Paz, Baja California Sur.


Corals do not exceed 5% of the substrate’s coverage (Arizpe et al. cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993).

Isla Cerralvo, Baja California Sur.


Corals form patches of a few square meters in surface (Squires, Reyes Bonilla, cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993).

Punta Pescadero, Bahia de las Palmas, Baja California Sur.


Relatively rich coral and gorgonian populations and very rich fish communities (Glynn and Wellington, Hobson,
cited in UNEP/IUCN 1988).

Cabo Pulmo, Baja California Sur.


The reef projects offshore in a north easterly direction and consists of a series of rocky ridges covered with algae
and encrusting Porites. The two most common corals are P. californica and Pocillopora elegans (Brusca and
Thomson, Gotshall, cited in UNEP/IUCN 1988). The reef covers an area of 150 ha. making it one of the most
important coastal reefs in the American Pacific (Reyes Bonilla 1993)

Los Frailes, Baja California Sur.


Coral communities with very rich fish communities (Glynn and Wellington, Hobson, cited in UNEP/IUCN 1988).

Punta Palmilla, Baja California Sur.


Area with abundant coral. (Wilson, Reyes Bonilla, cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993).

Punta Chileno, Baja California Sur.


This bay presents the highest abundance of hermatypic corals in the Cape Region. From a constructional point of
view, it forms a true reef (Wilson, Reyes Bonilla, cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993).

San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur.


Coral communities with very rich fish communities (Glynn and Wellington, Hobson, cited in UNEP/IUCN 1988).

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur.


Coral communities with very rich fish communities (Glynn and Wellington, Hobson, cited in UNEP/IUCN 1988).

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Coast of Sinaloa, Sinaloa.


Due to the sandy nature of the coast, hermatypic corals are scarce and few species can be found (van der Heiden
and Hendricks cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993).

Islas Marias, Nayarit.


These islands present well developed reefs (Squires, cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993). The coral community is
composed of nine species, one of them, Porites baueri is endemic with no fossil record, which indicates it is a
"new" species, less than one million years old (Reyes Bonilla 1993).

Isla Jaltemba (Isla La Perla), Bahía de Guayabitos (Bahía de Jaltemba), Nayarit.


Dense patch of corals, mainly Pocillopora on the landward side of the island (Greenfield et al., Chávez, cited in
UNEP/IUCN 1988).

Bahía de Banderas Norte, Nayarit.


Areas of high coral cover, over 40% can be found. Well-developed physical reef structures between one and two
meters thick; formations are hundreds of meters in length (Reyes Bonilla 1993)

Islas Marietas, Jalisco.


Small reefs can be found (Durham and Barnard, Reyes Bonilla, cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993)

Bahía de Banderas Sur, Jalisco.


Small reefs can be found (Reyes Bonilla 1993)

B. Pacific Coast Coral Communities

B.1 Offshore Islands

Rocas Alijos, Baja California Sur.


Hanna registered certain coral reef communities in the southern side (cited in Carricart-Ganivet et all. 1993)

Islas Revillagigedo.
These volcanic islands support many diverse fish and coral communities, including Porites californica, Pocillopora
elegans, Tubastrea, Bathycyatus and gorgonians Muricea, Eugorgia, Lophogorgia, Pacifigorgia, Gorgonia and
Filigella (Gotshall; cited in UNEP/IUCN 1988). The reef at Isla Socorro is particularly rich. Two of the species
Psammocora superficialis and Porites lobata are dominant but have not yet colonized the continental coast of
Mexico. This is important since only in Revillagigedo and in Clarion, the normal pattern of Pocilloporidae
dominance for communities in the Mexican Pacific is broken (Reyes Bonilla 1993). At Isla Clarión the most
abundant coral is Porites lobata (Ketchum Mejia, cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993)

B.2 Baja California Coast

Bahía de Santa María, Baja California Sur.


Area with abundant coral (Wilson, Reyes Bonilla, cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993).

Pacific Ocean coast from Cabo San Lucas to south of Bahía Magdalena, Baja California Sur.
Presence of Porites panamensis (Sánchez 1992)

B.3 Jalisco Coast

Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco.


Small reefs can be found (Reyes Bonilla 1993)

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Coast of Jalisco, Jalisco.


Due to the sandy nature of the coast, hermatypic corals are scarce and few species can be found (Reyes Bonilla
1993).

Bahia de Tenacatita, Jalisco.


Small reefs can be found (Bonilla 1993)

Coast of Michoacán, Michoacán


There are no data on the existence of hermatypic corals on this coast (Reyes Bonilla 1993). Small colonies of
corals were observed at Caleta de Campos (Gutierrez pers. comm.).

B.4 Guerrero Oaxaca Coast

Zihuatanejo, Guerrero.
Hermatypic corals have been registered (Squires; Salcedo Martínez et al., cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993).

Acapulco, Guerrero.
Hermatypic corals have been registered (Squires; Salcedo Martínez et al., cited in Reyes Bonilla 1993).

Coast of Guerrero, from Playa Tlalcoyunque to Rio Cortés, Guerrero.


Presence of Pavona gigantea (Sanchez 1992).

Coast of Oaxaca, Oaxaca.


Twenty-six coral communities have been detected, ranging from 0.24 to 10 hectares, at a maximum depth of
14.33 m. Five genera with 13 species of hermatypic corals were found, but communities are dominated by
Pocillopora. Four new species were reported for the Mexican Pacific region; Gardineroseris planulata, Pavona
varians, P. frondifera and Pocillopora inflatans (Leyte 1996 in Memorias 1er Encuentro Regional de Inv. y Des.
Sust. Gro., Oax. y Chis.).

Leyte (1996) describes three formations well defined: the first one corresponds to the Huatulco Bays containing
16 communities known as: Tejoncito, Rincón Sabroso, Tangolunda Manzanilla, Tangolunda Casa Mixteca, Isla
Montuosa, Santa Cruz, la Entrega, Cacaluta, la India, Chachacual, las Dos Hermanas, La Prima, Riscalillo, San
Agustín, Isla San Agustín and Sachi. The second group is located east of Puerto Angel and Tijera Beach and
ends at Punta Cometa west of Mazunte where there are eight minor extensions: la Tijera (two communities),
Boquilla, Ixtacahuite, la Guacha, Panteones, Camaroncillo and Mazunte (Punta Cometa). The third group is
located at Puerto Escondido, containing the communities of Puerto Angelito and Carrizalillo.

There is a clear zonation in which the species Pocillopora is present from the shallow areas of the sea to 14 m
below the surface. From 4 m below the surface blotches of Porites panamensis begin to appear and from 8 m
below the surface Pavona gigantea begin to appear. Gardinoseris planulata is located at a depth of 3 m and only
in Camaroncillo Bay. The reef pieces in various zones grow in vertical columns up to 5 m thick indicating their old
age. Particular attention is given to the actual growth sustained by young colonies established over the remains of
dead coral, which on account of their size indicates very old age. (Leyte 1996)

Puerto Angelito, Oaxaca.


An approximation to a reef is found consisting mainly of Pocillopora capitata (UNEP/IUCN 1988).

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.


Palmer registered a monospecific block of Pocillopora elegans about 160 meters wide in Puerto Escondido Bay
(cited in Carricart-Ganivet et al 1993).

Coast from Puerto Ángel to Huatulco, Oaxaca.


Fringing reefs of considerable size can be found in this area, reaching a maximum width of over 150 m in front of
Puerto Angel. Pocillopora is the most abundant genera, followed by Porites and Pavona (Palmer, Durham,

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Rodríguez Palacios et al., Mitchell Arana y Gómez, Comas Rodríguez y Pérez Rojas, cited in Reyes Bonilla
1993).

Huatulco, Oaxaca.
(map in Reyes Bonilla 1993)

South Coast of Oaxaca, Oaxaca


Brief description of areas (Palmer, cited in UNEP/IUCN 1988).

Golfo de Tehuantepec, Oaxaca y Chiapas


The Gulf is an area of cold upwellings which prevents the formation of reefs (Glynn et al., cited in UNEP/IUCN
1988).

Coast of Chiapas, Chiapas


There are no data on the existence of hermatypic corals on this coast. Due to the sandy nature of the coast and
the Tehuantepec upwelling, the probability that they are abundant is highly unlikely (Reyes Bonilla 1993).

3.4.2 Coral Reefs and Coral Communities of the Gulf of Mexico. Veracruz.

The Gulf of Mexico reefs have been divided into two systems: Northern Veracruz and Southern Veracruz. The
first one consists of six platform-like reefs, some with emerging parts like Isla Lobos. The Veracruz Reef System
includes 17 reefs (Gutiérrez, et al. 1993) and is subdivided into the north group and south group (Carricart and
Horta 1993). The majority of the structures in the northern reef group are platform-like although reef patches do
exist like in El Giote, and ridges like in Punta Gorda, Punta Majagua, Hornos and Punta Mocambo (Carricart and
Horta op. cit.). In the southern group all of the reef structures are platforms.

The Gulf of Mexico-Veracruz coral reefs and communities were geographically grouped using the Biophysical
Coastal and Marine Classification System (Neritic Provinces in this document) proposed by Carlton Ray et al.
(1994), the open ocean and marginal seas realms (Oceanic Provinces in this document) adapted by Carlton Ray
et al. from Dietrich (1963), modified and detailed (proposed Subprovinces) by Bezaury et al. (1996), as follows:

Gulf Of Mexico-Veracruz
(Gulf of Mexico Neritic Province)

C. Northern Veracruz Reef System


(Veracruzan Neritic Subprovince)
C.1 Tamiahua Group
C.2 Tuxpan Group

D. Southern Veracruz Reef System


(Veracruzan Neritic Subprovince)
D.1 Veracruz Group
D.2 Antón Lizardo Group
D.3 Fringing Reefs

Gulf of Mexico-Veracruz Reefs

C. Northern Veracruz Reef System

The Northern Veracruz Reef System consists of two groups, one off the Tamiahua Lagoon and the other in front
of the port of Tuxpan. These groups represent the northernmost reefs in the East coast of Mexico. The
northernmost tropical coral reefs on the Atlantic continental shelf occur within US waters, at the crests of the East
and West Flower Garden Banks in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, 103 nautical miles southeast of Galveston,
Texas. The Flower Bank's northerly location, insofar as it is exposed to winter temperatures which are marginal

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for the development of thriving coral reefs, has resulted in reduced coral diversity, but has not reduced abundance
or growth rates of those species present (Bright et al. 1984) Map 8.

Map 8

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C.1 Tamiahua Group

Blanquilla
Located at 21° 30' 10" N and 97° 10' 32" W, 5 km offshore, southeast of Cabo Rojo is the northernmost reef in the
Eastern coast of Mexico. Its longest axis is 739 m and runs north-south, with 500 m at its widest point. It presents
a small caye in its southwest portion. (Carricart and Horta 1993). According to Moore (cited in Carricart and Horta
1993) living corals are scarce on the windward side and more common on the leeward.

Medio
This corresponds to a platform reef located at 21° 30' 00" N and 97° 10' 25" W, 7.5 km from the coast completely
submerged (Carricart and Horta 1993).

Lobos
This is located at 21° 20' 36" N and 97° 10' 19" W, 11.25 km from the coast and presents a small island (Isla
Lobos) with its longest axis 630 m long oriented northwest to southeast and 300 m wide (Carricart and Horta
1993). Physiographically it corresponds to a platform reef. It is moon shaped and emerges from a platform located
at a depth of 25 - 30 m, up to 1 - 2 m below sea level. The greatest development of the reef is achieved on the
sides of the platform, where Montrastea cavernosa, M. annularis, Diploria strigosa, D. clivosa and Acropora
palmata dominate (Chávez 1973).

C.2 Tuxpan Group

Tangüijo
Platform reef located at 21° 00' 36" N and 97° 10' 30" W, 8.75 km from the coast (Carricart and Horta 1993).

Enmedio
Platform reef located at 21° 00' 31" N and 97° 10' 29" W, 8.75 km from the coast (Carricart and Horta 1993).

Tuxpan
Platform reef located at 21° 00' 04" N and 97° 10' 12" W, 11.25 km from the coast (Carricart and Horta 1993).

D. Southern Veracruz Reef System

General Characteristics and Distribution

The Southern Veracruz Reef System (VRS) consists of two groups: one off the Veracruz Port and the other in
front of Antón Lizardo village. The limit for both groups are river deltas. Antigua to the north and Papaloapan and
Alvarado Lagoon to the south. The Jamapa River divides the VRS into two natural groups. There are 17 main
reefs and four fringing reefs. Eleven of the largest reefs are in Antón Lizardo (Map 9).

Following the criteria and classification schemes of other authors (Darwin, Stodartt, Goreau, Milliman, Guilcher,
cited in Lara et al. 1992) some of the reefs can be described as fringing reefs and others as bank reefs.

Veracruz reefs especially around the port have unique characteristics compared with other reefs (Stodartt,
Goreau, cited in Lara et al. 1992). These reefs are in an area with high concentrations of river sediment. The
location, size, scleractinian diversity, coverage and topographic complexity of the reefs are probably controlled by
a dynamic interaction between turbid fresh or brackish water from rivers and currents of clear marine water
(Roberts and Murray, cited in Lara et al. 1992)

The reefs have two main structures: elongated in a NW-SE direction and kidney-shaped with the same
orientation. The long axis is called topographic axis (Pichon, cited in Lara et al. 1992). Perpendicular to this axis
at approximately 300 E is the morphological axis. Dimensions, area, general features and maximum depth of the
reefs are shown in Table 7.

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Map 9

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Table 7.
General features
Veracruz Group
Reefs Topografical Morphologica Distance Reef Area Windward Leeward
Axis l to shore Km 2 slope Slope
Km Axis Km m m
Km
A. Adentro 2.3 1.2 8.3 2.4 40 15
I. Verde 1.8 1.3 6.3 2.25 30 15
Pájaros 1.9 1.4 3.1 1.94 24 10
I. Sacrificios 1.2 0.6 1.9 0.87 12 6
Galleguilla 1.3 1.1 1.9 1.21 30 6
Gallega 2.5 1.5 0 - 12 -
Pta. Gorda 3.5 0.4 0 - 6 -
Hornos 0.6 0.3 0 - 6 -
Pta. 2.1 0.4 0 - 6 -
Mocambo

Antón Lizardo Group


A. Afuera 5.8 2.1 17.2 7.69 36 27
Santiaguillo 1.2 0.8 20.0 1.01 33 30
Anegadilla 0.7 0.4 21.0 0.75 33 27
Cabezo 11.9 3.2 14.2 18.92 40 27
Rizo 3.9 1.4 5.7 4.28 27 18
I. Enmedio 3.5 2.5 6.8 6.47 27 15
Chopas 5.8 1.75 3.3 8.54 24 12
Bajito 1.0 0.5 4.6 0.91 21 10
Polo 1.1 0.6 5.2 0.75 21 10
Blanca 1.9 1.1 3.2 1.83 27 10
Giote - - 0.2 - 3 3

Zonation

Using topographic and benthic characteristics in the field, and aerial and underwater photography, the VRS was
divided into four structural zones: Fore Reef, Reef Crest, Lagoon and Leeward slope. Each zone was divided into
several subzones. The number and characteristics of subzones are common to most reefs. This zonation forms
bands perpendicular to the dominant currents in the offshore reefs. This pattern is probably the combined result of
wind, currents and sedimentation unique to the Veracruz region. Different reefs have different scleractinian
species richness, diversity, coral coverage and topography although benthic communities do not differ
considerably (UNAM-Ciencias, Lara, Padilla, Pizaña, Jácome, López, cited in Lara et al. 1992).

Leeward Slope
This zone is the most variable area on most reefs, possibly due to the high rate of sedimentation caused primarily
by run-off following heavy rains. Depth ranges between 3 and 24 m. The leeward slope was divided into three
zones: The Plate zone, Dead A. cervicornis matrix and the Gorgonian zone.

The Plate zone is the deepest part of the Leeward slope. M. annularis is common and grows in massive coral
heads and boulders. In the offshore reefs, this morphological zone is more developed along its center, compared
with nearshore reefs where only the extremes of the reef are developed. The benthic community is dominated by
Montastrea spp. and Siderastrea spp., sponges like Verongia fistularis, Callispongia falax, Ircinia campana, I.
fasciculata and I. strobilina, and the echinoderm Nemaster rubiginosa.

The extent of the Dead A. cervicornis zone is highly variable and occurs mainly on the central sections of the
reefs. The benthic community is varied possibly due to the highly heterogeneous substrate. Scleractinians like

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Montastrea spp., Siderastrea spp., Porites spp., and Diploria spp. grow mainly as flattened sheets. Sponges like
Ircinia spp., Callispongia spp., Verongia spp., and Haliclona spp. are present. Echinoderms include Equinometra
lucunter, Ophiocoma echinata, Eucidaris tribuloides, Euapta lappa and Strongilocentrotus droebachiensis.
Lyropecten spp. and Lima scabra are the most abundant mollusks.

On the leeward slope close to the rear edge, high density gorgonian patches occur, mostly at the near shore
reefs. Pseudoplexaura porosa is the dominant species. Most species have a whip growth form like Plexaura
flexuosa, Pseudopterogorgia acerosa and Eunicea sp. Scleractinians are small. The most common are D. clivosa,
D. strigosa, A. cervicornis, M. annularis. The gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum associated with the gorgonians; and
the echinoderm Echinometra viridis are also common.

Lagoon
The Lagoon is shallow and flat. Depth varies from 0.5 m near the Reef Crest to 2.5 m close to the leeward slope.
Bottom sediments are silt-like or muddy, typical of calm environments. The Lagoon was divided into two zones:
the Rear Edge and the Patch Zone.

One distinctive feature of the Rear Edge is the scattered branching and lobed coral heads on muddy bottoms.
These coral heads, some of which are partially dead or in the process of breaking down, support a diverse biota
of mollusks, fishes and echinoderms. Common scleractinian species are D. clivosa, D. strigosa, A. palmata, A.
cervicornis and P. porites.

The Patch Zone is a mixture of coral heads and algae, beds of Thalassia testudinum and bare patches of sand. In
offshore groups, a calcareous framework of P. porites, in different stage of filling by mud and sand, is stabilized by
seagrasses and algae turfs. In the nearshore groups the rate of sedimentation is very high, the layer of sand is
deep and sea grasses are tall. The most conspicuous Scleractinians are Porites spp. Siderastrea spp. and D.
clivosa, with low coverage and large amounts of dead coral. The sponges, Haliclona spp. and Tedania spp., the
sea urchins, Diadema antillarum, Tripneustes ventricosus and Echinometra spp. and the mollusks, Tridachia
crispata, Pinna spp. and Cerithium litteratum occur.

Reef Crest
The Reef Crest is the shallowest part of the reefs where turbulence is high, particularly from September to March
when strong cold winds from the north "Nortes" occur. A unique feature of this zone is the high density of the sea
urchin Echinometra lucunter present at all reefs in the VRS (up to 45 per square meter). At the nearshore reefs it
is common to find huge aggregates of colonial zoanthids of the genera Zoanthus and Palythoa in places where
scleractinians would normally be found (Rosado, cited in Lara et al. 1992). This zone is divided into three
subzones: Back Reef, Breaker Zone and Fore Edge.

The Back Reef is next to the Patch Zone of the Lagoon. The bottom has a smooth slope towards the seashore
and calcareous rubble is abundant. It is common to find gastropod shells and Halimeda debris. D. clivosa, S.
radians and P. porites colonies are in the form of small heads and rolling stones.

The Breaker zone in the VRS is exposed to intense wave energy and high illumination. Tidal exposures are
common in some areas. There are several species of calcareous algae which have cemented the structure over
the years. There is also considerable growth of hydrocorals such as Millepora and a rich interstitial fauna is found
in the crevices. Scleractinians are few and of an grow in an encrusting form. The most common species found are
P. porites, S. siderea and D. clivosa.

The Fore Edge zone has a gentle slope which is continuously exposed to turbulence. Huge strands of A. palmata
both living and dead, some growths of Millepora sp. and algae dominate the substrate. Large colonies of
zoanthids are common at nearshore reefs (Rosado 1990).

Fore Reef
This zone is on the windward slope. It has a spur and groove structure that extends to 12 m on the nearshore
reefs and 40 m on the offshore reefs. The Fore Reef was subdivided into the Inner Fore Reef and Outer Fore
Reef.

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The Inner Fore Reef is a terrace that ranges between 3 m and 15 m in depth. The buttress zone is well developed
along the topographic axis. Its width is related to the slope; steeper slopes have narrower buttress zones. The
substrate is very heterogeneous over the spurs, providing places for many benthic species. The substrate is
dominated by scleractinians like Acropora palmata forming branching growths in the shallowest part of the slope.
Montastrea spp., Colpophyllia spp., and Diploria spp. are also present and growing in lobed boulders, mushroom
and massive forms. Sponges like Callispongia falax, Haliclona rubens and species of Ircinia genus are abundant
(UNAM-Ciencias; López; cited in Lara et al. 1992).

The Outer Fore Reef is steep between the spurs and grooves, particularly on the offshore reefs. It has a drop-off
that reaches 15 m on the sandy bottom. The main development of this zone is between 10 and 40 m, widest
around the central sections of the reefs. Montastrea annularis, Siderastrea siderea, Montastrea cavernosa,
Colpophyllia natans and Porites astreoides are dominant and have massive or tabular growth forms.
Demospongiae like Ircinia campana and Verongia fistularis are common in this zone.

Villalobos-Figueroa, Kühlmann, Chávez, and UNAM-Ciencias (cited in Lara et al. 1992), indicated that Veracruz
reefs had low coral coverage, few scleractinian species, and low topographic complexity especially in the deeper
parts. They found that the highest coral cover was at six meters. This is true only for the fringing reefs and for
some nearshore reefs in Veracruz such as "Isla Sacrificios", "La Gallega" and "Gallegilla". The offshore reefs in
front of Antón Lizardo have well developed spur and groove structures with high coral cover and diversity up to 40
m.

A previous study (IUCN, cited in Lara et al. 1992) recorded that the maximum coral diversity, topographic
heterogeneity and amount of calcium carbonate deposited was found on the SE tips of the reefs, due probably to
the influence of currents and destructive effects of the "Nortes" at the NW edges. In this case, it has been
detected that zonation runs parallel to the topographic axis, showing elongated or semicircular bands.
Furthermore, it was found that at some reefs the NW edges are more complex in terms of Scleractinian species
richness, diversity and topographic heterogeneity. This is the case of "Rizo", "Anegada de Afuera" and "Cabezo"
(UNAM-Ciencias, Lara, Padilla, Espejel, cited in Lara et al. 1992). This last reef is the biggest in the VRS,
presenting the highest coral coverage and diversity on both slopes, and also on the reef flat on the NW edge
(Padilla, cited in Lara et al. 1992).

Dominant SE wind and the "Nortes" in Veracruz induce coastal currents that interact with the rivers deltas. It is
postulated that the variability in the spatial patterns of sediment deposition is the main cause of the variability in
the development of the leeward slope.

The "Nortes" cause some damage mainly on reef flats due to the wind speed that causes highly energetic wave
action. On the other hand, this has a positive effect by diminishing the amount of sediment reaching the reefs.

The VRS has many unique characteristics compared with other reefs in Jamaica (Goreau and Goreau. Goreau,
Liddell et al., cited in Lara et al. 1992), Belize (Rützler and Macintyre cited in Lara et al. 1992) and the Mexican
Caribbean (Jordán et al., Jordán, Padilla et al, cited in Lara et al. 1992). These are due to the growth and
zonation of reefs over the continental shelf, the development of coral communities on the leeward slope, and the
presence of spur and groove formations at a 40 m depth on the seaward side.

Scleractinian Communities
The VRS grows on a subhorizontal submerged platform (Emery; IUCN, cited in Lara et al. 1992). Three groups of
scleractinians species were identified. These are possibly associated to depth, slope and rate of sedimentation.

In deeper zones scleractinian fauna is abundant and Montastrea spp., Colpophyllia spp., Porites astreoides and
Siderastrea radians are found. On the windward slope of the reefs, coral grows both vertically and horizontal. The
growth forms are massive, flattened, and lobed. This type of coral association is found within the spurs and
grooves.

On the Leeward slope, terrigenous material has a strong influence on coral growth in deeper parts. Corals have
tabular growth forms with the flat surface facing upward. Near the edge, dead A. cervicornis build up a calcareous
matrix which is incorporated into the framework.

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In shallower water, massive growth forms are replaced by branching A. palmata on the seaward side and lobed
Diploria spp. on the leeward side of the reefs. This change in coral composition is typical of the outer edges of the
reefs.

Close to the sea surface, the dominant Acropora palmata and Diploria spp. associations are replaced by digital
growth forms together with encrusting coral-like algae and Millepora spp. at exposed reef flat. On the rear reef
flat, rubble and other sedimentary material are carried leeward by tide currents. These sediments fill the
framework. Eventually seagrasses establish themselves. P. porites, D. clivosa and Siderastrea spp. are common
on the reef flat.

Reefs in Veracruz have a windward and leeward slope. Each slope presenting different: topographic complexity,
amount of calcium carbonate deposition, scleractinian species richness and coral coverage (degree of
development). Each main group of reefs was subdivided according to presence and degree of development of the
windward and leeward slopes as a distinguishing factor.

(Lara et al. 1992)

D.1 Veracruz Group

The Veracruz group was divided into two subgroups.

a) Offshore. The first group includes the well-developed reefs of "Anegada de Adentro" and "Isla Verde". The
main features are a continuous and well developed leeward slope and large gorgonian patches in the shallow
parts of the slope.

b) Nearshore. "La Blanquilla", "Pajaros", "Isla Sacrificios", "Galleguilla" and "La Gallega" form the second group.
These reefs have a poorly developed leeward slope, where coral growth is only found in the shallowest and
deepest extremes.

(Lara et al. 1992)

D.2 Antón Lizardo Group

In Antón Lizardo three subgroups were differentiated.

a) Offshore. These were "Anegada de Afuera", "Santiaguillo", Anegadilla" and Central and NW sides of "Cabezo".
The main characteristic of these reefs is the continuous development of both windward and leeward slopes
parallel to the topographic axis.

b) Midshelf. The second subgroup consists of "Isla de Enmedio", "Rizo" and the SE tip of "Cabezo". These reefs
have a large smooth leeward slope with coral heads on the sandy bottom. On the windward slope it is common to
find a calcareous framework made from the remains of dead Acropora cervicornis; a small proportion (around 5
%) is alive.

c) Nearshore. "La Blanca", "Bajito", "Polo" y "Chopas" are near the coast and have a poorly developed leeward
slope with few small coral heads and boulders, with considerable cover of sponges. Sedimentation in these reefs
is very high.

(Lara et. al. 1992)

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D.3 Fringing Reefs


These reefs are found near the sea shore. Three of them are near the Port of Veracruz: "Punta Gorda" to the
north, "Hornos" in front of the port and "Punta Mocambo" to the south. The only fringing reef in Antón Lizardo is
"El Giote". The main feature of these reefs are the very low scleractinian coverage and a maximum depth of 6-12
m with large amounts of deposited and suspended sediment. (Lara et. al. 1992)

3.4.3 Coral Reefs and Communities of the Gulf of Mexico-Campeche Bank.

The Wider Caribbean lacks and extensive shallow continental shelf, except off the north and western portions of
the Yucatan Peninsula. The Campeche Bank, is an underwater extension of the Yucatan Peninsula, which slopes
gradually northwards for about 200 km and descends abruptly into the Sigsbee Deep. The Gulf of Mexico is
basically an area of terrigenous sedimentation, but scattered reef growth is found off Mexico and there are relict
coral and algal mounds over much of the shelf. (UNEP/IUCN 1988) (Map 10).

The Gulf of Mexico-Campeche Bank coral reefs and communities were geographically grouped using the
Biophysical Coastal and Marine Classification System (Neritic Provinces in this document) proposed by Carlton
Ray et al. (1994), the open ocean and marginal seas realms (Oceanic Provinces in this document) adapted by
Carlton Ray et al. from Dietrich (1963), modified and detailed (proposed Subprovinces) by Bezaury et al. (1996),
as follows:

Gulf of Mexico-Campeche Bank Reefs


(Gulf of Mexico Neritic Province)
(Campeche Bank, Campechean and Yucatan Neritic Subprovinces)

E. Outer Campeche Bank Reefs and Coral Communities


(Gulf of Mexico Neritic Province)

(Campeche Bank Neritic Subprovince)


E.1 Cayo Arcas and associated shallows
E.2 Bancos Obispo
E.3 Banco Nuevo
E.4 Bancos Pera and Perlas
E.5 Arrecife Triángulos and Cd. Condal
E.6 Banco Ingles
E.7 Banco y Cayo Nuevo
E.8 Cayo Arenas
E.9 Arrecife Alacranes
E.10 Bajos del Norte
E.11 Bajo Granville
E.12 Unnamed outer banks
E.13 Eastern banks

F. Inner Campeche Bank Reefs and Coral Communities


(Gulf of Mexico Neritic Province)

(Campechean Neritic Subprovince)


F.1 Unnamed Campechean inner banks

(Yucatan Neritic Subprovince)


F.2 Bajos Serpiente, Madagascar and Sisal
F.3 Bajo Pawashik
F.4 Roca Ifigenia
F.5 Bajo Antonieta
F.6 Unnamed Yucatecan inner banks
F.7 Laguna Yalahau

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Map 10

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General Characteristics and Distribution

Campeche Bank reefs present ecological and morphological characteristics that distinguish them from the coral
reefs of the Caribbean Basin, although their fauna is similar (Ferré D'Amaré 1995). Both emerged and submerged
reefs are present, but all of them are platforms growing as incomplete cones, arising from a pre-Holocene base
located at 50-60 m in depth (Ferré D'Amaré 1995, Jordán 1993). Emerged reefs represent growth from the post-
Holocene that reaches the water's surface. According to Neumann and Macintyre (Jordán 1993), submerged
reefs did not develop a growth rate that enabled them to keep up with the rise of the sea level; therefore they
remain 10 to 15 m below the surface and are colonized by species common to these depths (Jordán op. cit.).

The Holocene portions of the Campeche Bank reefs are growing atop submarine prominences that rise to 30 - 35
m, which in turn bulge from a submarine terrace that lies at 50 - 60 m. The Ingleses, Obispo, and Triángulos
groups are knolls or simple reef walls having very steep sides and small reef flats. These knolls and walls are
oriented to the north-east, facing the prevalent winds and waves. These structures are quite small, the longest
wall measuring less than 3 km. The Arenas and Arcas groups are both formed by three crescent-shaped reef
walls with large leeward clastic sediment drapes. They have wider reef flats and, in some cases, sandy cays with
vegetation. There is no noticeable active leeward coralline growth. These reefs are also quite small, the length of
their long axis being less than 3 km.

The zonation pattern of the windward side is basically the same for all Campeche Bank reefs. If hard substrate is
available, a moderate to low density community composed chiefly of Agaricia agaricites, Montastrea sp., and
Solenastrea sp., together with some Lithothamnium, will be present from about 35 m (the lower limit of coral
growth in the Bank) up to about 20 m. From 20 m to about 10 m a community composed mainly of Diploria sp.,
Montastrea sp., and Porites astreoides is dominant. This is in turn substituted by a dense growth of Acropora
palmata which with live hermatypic coverage as high as 75% (Farrell et al. cited in Ferre D'Amare 1985)
dominates, together with Millepora sp. to 2- 3m. From there to just beneath the crest, the zoanthids Palythoa
caribaeorum and Zoanthus sociatus are the dominant organisms. In most of the reefs, a spur and groove
structure up to 6m relief is present in the A. palmata zone, sometimes extending seawards from here. Above the
zoanthid zone exists the reef crest which is composed of unconsolidated coral debris cemented in places with
calcified algae. This area is, in general, barely awash at low tide, and its width varies with the size of the reef,
from a few dozen meters to more than a 100m around the Alacran Reef (Kornicker et al., Bonet, Logan, Farrell et
al., cited in Ferre D'Amare 1985).

Bank reefs have a reef flat community which may be quite diverse, being composed chiefly of Diploria spp.,
Montastrea spp., Acropora spp., Agaricia spp., and Porites spp., or a monospecific stand of A. cervicornis several
hundred meters wide (Farrell et al., cited in Ferre D'Amare 1985). In Alacran Reef, the barren crest ends in the
"sand cliff" where the bottom dips abruptly for as much as 10 15 m. Beyond this, a variety of coalescent patch
reefs exist (in Alacran) having a faunal composition similar to that of the reef flat of the smaller reefs, as well as
dense patches of the Thalassia-Halimeda community, which is absent on the smaller reefs (Kornicker and Boyd,
cited in Ferre D'Amare 1985). The leeward edge of Alacran Reef seems to be an aggregate of anastomized patch
reefs which exhibit a zonation similar to that of the windward side, but compressed vertically and horizontally.
Twenty to twenty-five hermatypic species are thought to exist in the Campeche Bank reefs (Farrell et al. cited in
Ferre D'Amare 1995).

Radiocarbon study of the upper part of a core hole practiced in Pérez Island, one of the sand cayes of Alacran,
has shown that the reef has a Holocene growth, in that section, of 33.5 m, with deposition rates of as much as
12m/1000yr. This high rate of growth is attributed to the presence of A. cervicornis in a protected environment to
the lee of the reef crest. This shows that the lagoon was a zone of very active growth and not merely a place of
windward reef derived debris deposition (Macintyre et al.; cited in Ferre D'Amare 1985). Bonet (cited in Ferre-
D'Amare 1985) has shown through examination of the same perforation that the submarine mound (beyond 33.5
m) on which the Holocene growth is taking place is preholocene reef environment also dominated by A.
cervicornis. This extends to a depth of 50 - 60 m, at which level lies the shelf terrace. Although this information
was gathered from only one perforation, it is tempting to apply it to all the other reefs and subreef mounds in the
Campeche Bank.

(Ferre D'Amare 1985)

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There is an abundance of submerged banks on the Yucatan and Campeche platform, some of them of a
considerable extension such as Banco Nuevo, Pera and Ingleses. Their origin has not been determined, but their
distribution pattern suggests that they are preholocene reef structures, similar to the emerged banks. In this case,
they are probably coral communities that were not able to keep up a growth rate, fast enough to compensate the
rise of the sea level during the Holocene transgression, and/or were unable to reach the surface afterwards, when
the rate of sea level rising was reduced (Nuemann et al. cited in Jordán, 1993). (Jordán 1993)

E. Outer Campeche Bank Reefs

E.1 Cayo Arcas and associated shallows


A platform like reef located at 20o 12' 46" N and 91o 58' 09" W, that is 2.63 km in length and 1.54 km in width, its
longest axis runs in a NW-SE direction made up of three cays: the East, West and South Cays. (Carricart and
Horta 1993).

The group consists of three sand cays and an elongated 3 km long reef flat, that surrounds a sandy semilagoon
on the west side of the main cay. There was a dense coverage of Acropora cervicornis (Farrell et al. cited in
Chávez et al. 1985) which has now disappeared, apparently as a result of human activities related to the oil
industry. The zonation at the front reef shows that the zoanthids Palythoa caribaeorum and Zoanthus sociatus are
dominant between 1 and 3 m; then Acropora palmata prevails between 3 and 7 m; Montastrea annularis and
Diploria strigosa, plus octocorals, are characteristic from 7 through 18 m followed by a sandy slope occupying the
lower level (Farrel et al. cited in Chávez et al. 1985).

E.2 Bancos Obispo


Located at 20°13.02' N and 90°00.08' W (Torruco 1997). This reef system is formed by plain walls or by walls
fusing with inclining exterior slopes. The backreef is quite narrow, reaching depths of 50 m within a very confined
space. The reef walls face southeast to northeast with the narrow portion facing windward. The reefs are relatively
small; the longest wall is less than 3 km in length (Ferre D'Amaré 1995).

E.3 Banco Nuevo


A submerged reef, located close to the continent at 20°32.37' N and 91°54.07' W (Jordán 1993). Its origin, like
many others of the Campeche Bank is unknown (Sosa-Cordero 1997). Although Torruco et al. (1997) confirms its
wide expanse and a depth of 20 to 46 m in depth, Jordán (1993) states that at a depth of 43 m it rises to 39 and
14 m. From 30-40 m to 20-25 m, one finds a moderately dense community dominated by Agaricia agaricites and
Montastrea sp., along with calcareous algae of the genus Lithothanium. From this point onto the 10 m depth
range, one finds a community composed principally of Montastrea sp., Porites astreoides, Diploria sp. and
hydrocorals of the genus Millepora. The dominant species of the area are the Palythoa caribaeorum and
Zoanthus sociatus sea anemone colonies. Differentiated reef crests are not present in the bank. (Torruco et al.
1997)

E.4 Bancos Pera y Perlas


Banco Pera is located at 20°41' N and 92°15' W (Jordán 1993). It is very similar to Banco Nuevo in zonation and
species characterizations (Torruco et al. 1997). The base of its platform is at 44 m in and its top somewhere
between 25 and 16 m in depth (Jordán, 1993). To date, its origin has not been determined (Sosa-Cordero 1997).
Banco Perlas appears only at the Gulf of Mexico Bathymetric Chart - CB 003 INEGI (1:1,000,000 scale), along
with Banco Pera and no further information was found.

E.5 Arrecife Triángulos y Cd. Condal


Arrecife Triángulos is a complex of three coral reefs no more than 1000 m from each other. Triángulos West is the
result of the fusion of two smaller joined at their NE end; leaving a channel 15 m deep on its dead end and deeper
at the mouth. A reef flat occupies the top of the reef, at 0.5 m depth leading to a slope towards the outer margins.
Some patches of coral heads grow several meters above the bottom of the channel. The reef flat on the top is

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occupied by P. caribaeorum where it becomes dominant using dead remains of A. palmata as a substratum.
Looking at the side walls of the channel, it is evident that the growth of A. palmata colonies started at least 8 m
below the sea level and their branches anastomized and luxuriously developed up to the surface. Changes of the
sea level in the recent geological history may be responsible for the death of these organisms, leading to the
secondary formations like those already mentioned. On the leeward side of the reef, extensive areas of naked
hard substratum are noticeable between 5 and 15 m deep. (Chávez et al. 1985)

Triángulos Oeste. A platform like reef located 20° 57' 00" N and 92° 14' 00" W. It is 656 m in length and 300 m in
width, its longest axis runs in a NW-SE direction. In the Southern end a small caye is present.

Triángulos Este. A platformlike reef located at 20°55 00" N and 92° 12' 43" W. It has 2.37 km in length and 547 m
in width, its longest axis runs in a NE-SW direction. In the Southeastern side a small caye is present.

Triángulos Sur. A platformlike reef located at 20° 54' 00" N and 92° 14' 00" W. It has 2 km in length and 1 km in
width, its longest axis runs in a NE-SW direction with no emerging parts.

(Carricart and Horta 1993)

E.6 Banco Ingles


Located at 21° 46' 78" N and 91° 56' 97" W. (Torruco 1997). Like Banco Obispo, this reef system is formed by
plain walls or by walls fusing with steeply inclining exterior slopes and a narrow backreef (Ferré D'Amare 1995)
reaching 43 m in depth at a short distance (Torruco 1997). Jordán (1993) indicates that the base of the platform is
at 63 m depth, and its top somewhere between 25 and 2 m.

E.7 Banco y Cayo Nuevo


Located at 21° 50' N and 92° 03' W (Jordán, 1993). This well-developed reef (Chávez 1994), of unknown origin,
reaches tens of meters above the seafloor over a considerable expanse (Sosa-Cordero 1997). The base platform
is at 54 m in depth and the top at 20 m (Jordán 1993). It has two cays, one in the east and one in the west,
formed by coral remnants with sparse portions of sand. The east cay, the smallest one, is 30 m in length, 5 m in
width and 1.3 m in above the water. The cay to the west where vegetation is becoming established is also 1.3 m
above water with an emerged area of 651 m2, four times larger than the cay to the east. (Torruco et al. 1997)

E.8 Cayo Arenas


A platform like reef located at 22° 07' 09" N and 91° 24' 18"W. It is 972 m in length and 729 m in width, its longest
axis runs in a NW-SE direction. In the Southeastern side a small cay is present (Carricart and Horta 1993).

The development of the front reef leaves a semi lagoon widely opened on the west side. Near the SE end there is
an island, covered by large blocks of dead coral washed ashore from the reef, probably as a result of some
hurricane. The beaches of the island are sandy on the lee margin and are covered by gravel on the windward
side, where a 100 m wide terrace 0.5 m to 1.0 m below the sea level leads to a 10 m spur and groove step
oriented towards the northeast. A second terrace at 1012 m depth is covered with soft sediment and coral heads.
The front reef extends about 700 m north westward and westward from the cay forming a semi lagoon with a
depth of about 9 m at its opening; the bottom of the lagoon has some red algae and a few coral heads (Chávez et
al. 1985).

E.9 Arrecife Alacranes


Located 130 km from Progreso, this atoll is the reef located furthest north in the Bank of Campeche. It comprises
five islands. Pérez, Chica and Pájaros are located in southern region; Desertora runs SW and Desterrada runs
NW. Due to storms and wind changes, formation varies from island to island (Kornicker et al. 1959). Of all the
islands, Pérez, located at 22° 23' 30" N and 89° 41' 48" W, is the largest and most important (Carricart and Horta
1993).

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Alacranes reef has been the site of several geologically oriented studies: Kornicker et al. 1959; Kornicker and
Boyd 1962, Folk and Robles 1964, Bonet 1967, Logan et al. 1969, Macintyre et al. 1977 (cited in FerreD'Amare
1985). The axes of oval shaped reef measure ca. 11 and 22 km, the reef being elongated to the northwest. (Ferre
D'Amare 1985) Physiographically, Alacranes Reef has a windward reef on its east side, a not well developed
leeward discontinuous reef on the southwestern side, and a lagoon divided into three areas: one about 8 m deep
near the west margin, another east of Isla Pérez (the deepest part), and the remaining one, where ridges of coral
give a cellular pattern. Coral patches emerge 23 m on the first two sections. The outer slope of the reef is
heterogeneous, with the presence of a spur and groove zone along the east ridge below a 10 m depth. The slope
is abrupt from the upper ridge to 3035 m depth where it forms a terrace and leads into the sandy sediment of the
Campeche Bank. Amongst the main biotopes easy to identify are coral patches in the open west lagoon as well
as on the slopes of the cells at the eastern lagoon, sandy flat areas and Thalassia beds. (Chávez et al. 1985).

E.10 Bajos del Norte


These shallows have not been extensively described. They are mentioned in studies by Chávez and Hidalgo
(1988), Jordán (1993) and Chávez (1994). They are located at 23° 29' N and 88° 45' W, their base being at a
depth of 60 to 73 m and their tops at 33 m (Jordán 1993). Chávez (1994) classifies them as scarcely developed.

E.11 Bajo Granville


A submerged bank located at 21° 55' N and 89° 19' W. Its base is located at 36 m. of depth and the top of the
platform at 8 m below sea level (Jordán 1993). Chávez (1994) identified this as a very well developed reef.

E.12 Unnamed outer banks


Various unnamed banks are present in the outer Campeche Bank, Jordan (1993) mentioning two of them, south
of Bajos del Norte. The first one is located at 22° 46' N and 88° 24' W, its base at a depth of 16 m and the top of
the platform 5 m below sea level. The second shallow area is located at 22° 21' N and 34' W, its base at 51 m,
and its top 33 m below sea level (Jordán 1993).

E.13 Eastern banks


The Eastern banks are a group of about 27 unnamed structures that are distributed east and north of the Yucatan
Peninsula located between 21° 40' N, 86° 42' W and 24° 10' N, 89° W and following the 100 m depth contour.
Chávez (1994) indicates a large are of scarce coral development west from these structures.

F. Inner Banks Campeche Bank

There are numerous emerged and submerged banks located close to the Yucatan Peninsula's coast, colonized
by somewhat abundant coral communities that support local fishing activities. These banks dominate the northern
and eastern margins of the Yucatan Peninsula and are constructed in a similar fashion to the exterior bank reefs
except that they have smaller dimensions (Jordán 1993).

F.1 Unnamed Campechean inner banks


Facing Isla Arenas and Los Petenes Reserve, a pair of shallows are present 30 - 40 km from the coast. Facing
Isla Arenas the shallow is located at 20° 39' N and 90° 50' W, its base at a depth of 15 m and its top 10 m below
sea level. The shallow in front of Los Petenes is located at 20° 26' N and 91° 01' W, its base at a depth of 16 m
and its top 10 m below sea level (Jordán 1993).

F.2 Bajos Serpiente, Madagascar y Sisal


These three named banks are grouped with other unnamed banks at the northwest corner of the Yucatan
Península north of the port of Sisal. Location corrections on Jordán (1993), result in Bajo Serpiente being located
at 21° 26' N and 90 °30' W, with its base at 27 m in depth and the top 8 m below sea level; Bajo Madagascar at

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21° 26' N and 90° 18' W with its base at 18 m and top 3 m below sea level and Bajo Sisal at 21° 20' N and 90° 09'
W with its base at 12 m and its top 2 m below sea level.

F.3 Bajo Pawashik


Located at 21° 31' N and 88° 47' W, with its base at 7 m in depth and the top at 3 m below sea level (Jordán
1993).

F.4 Roca Ifigenia


Located at 21° 58' N and 88° 35' 30" W. Its base is located at 30 m in depth and the top 15 m below sea level
(Jordán 1993).

F.5 Bajo Antonieta


Located at 21° 36' N and 88° 18' W, with its base at 5 m in depth and the top 1 m below sea level (Jordán 1993).

F.6 Unnamed Yucatan inner banks


Minor coral patches can be found in the Northern coast of Quintana Roo (Snedaker et al. 1991). According to the
nautical maps (S.M. 800; S.M. 900; DMA-USA 28300) other small shallows are present close to the coast, and
have not been named. The majority of which are located between Bajo Pawashick and the northeast corner of the
Yucatan Peninsula.

F.7 Laguna Yalahau


Small coral patch discovered in 1991 (Snedaker et al. 1991).

3.4.4 Coral Reefs and Coral Communities of the Mexican Caribbean

On the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, reefs border the state of Quintana Roo. The coastline is notable for
its lack of rivers, but numerous limestone sink holes or cenotes, result in an outflow of freshwater at various
points. (UNEP/IUCN 1988) Recent studies have proven the existence of highly developed and extensive spur and
grove systems in the central and southern coast. Cozumel Island and Banco Chinchorro (an atoll-like structure)
present developed leeward reefs and highly developed windward reefs (Map 11).

Based upon extensive surveys carried out by Amigos de Sian Ka'an, Caribbean Sea coral reefs and communities
were geographically grouped using the Biophysical Coastal and Marine Classification System (Neritic Provinces
in this document) proposed by Carlton Ray et al. (1994), the open ocean and marginal seas realms (Oceanic
Provinces in this document) adapted by Carlton Ray et al. from Dietrich (1963), modified and detailed (proposed
Subprovinces) by Bezaury et al. (1996), as follows:

Caribbean Sea Reefs


(Caribbean Neritic Province)
(Caribbean Oceanic Province)

G. Northern Quintana Roo Patch Reefs


(Contoyan Neritic Subprovince)
G.1 Contoy-Cancun Subregion

H. Northern Quintana Roo Shallow Fringing Reefs


(Cancunean Neritic Subprovince)
H.1 Puerto Morelos Subregion
H.2 Playa del Carmen Subregion

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Map11

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I. Southern Quintana Roo Deep Fringing Reefs


(Sian Ka'anean Neritic Subprovince)
I.1 Caletas Region
I.2 Sian Ka'an North Region
I.3 The Bays Region
I.4 Sian Ka'an South Region
I.5 Majahual Region
I.6 Xcalak Trench Region

J. Arrowsmith Bank
(Caribbean Oceanic Province)
J.1 Arrowsmith Region

K. Isla Cozumel Reefs


(Caribbean Oceanic Province)
K.1 Leeward Cozumel Region
K.2 Windward Cozumel Region
K.3 Cozumel Shallows (Bajo) Region

L. Chinchorro Bank
(Caribbean Oceanic Province)
L.1 Leeward Chinchorro Region
L.2 Windward Chinchorro Region
L.3 Chinchorro Reef Lagoon Region

General Characteristics and Distribution

The State of Quintana Roo is located in the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula, in front of the Caribbean Sea.
It comprises a linear coastal distance of approximately 375 km. There is an almost continuous reef bordering the
whole coast, already recognized as a fringing reef by Darwin in 1842.

The Yucatan Peninsula and its broad shelf form a great limestone platform that extends northward into the Gulf of
Mexico. The Caribbean shelf on the eastern margin of the Peninsula is very narrow, in many places less than 2
km wide. (Gutiérrez et al. cited in Gutierrez-Carbonell and García 1996).

Currents are the coral larvae's means of dispersal; therefore, water characteristics are considered very important
for understanding reef development (Levinton cited in Gutierrez-Carbonell and García, 1996). There are at least
seven water masses in the Caribbean (Merino cited in Gutierrez-Carbonell and García, 1996), but it seems that
only the upper mass has influence over the coral growth area, since it occupies the upper 150 m of the water
column. (Merino 1992). The uniformity of species present along the entire Caribbean may be explained by this in
a meso-scale process.

The Caribbean area is subject to east-northeast trade winds throughout most of the year (Milliman, Burke, cited in
Gutiérrez-Carbonell and García 1996). Wind stress is the primary energy source for surface currents. Currents
are rather large scale and this component of ocean circulation that has strong influence on distribution of biomass
over very long distances (Andrews and Pickard cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell and García 1996).

High turbidity and sedimentation rates strongly inhibit reef growth. Turbidity increases light attenuation and
thereby decreases photosynthesis by zooxanthellae. In general high sedimentation rate is an explanation of the
absence or paucity of coral reefs, water turbidity is probably as important as sea temperature in the distribution of
reefs (Mann cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992).

Storms and other major physical disturbances are important sources of change in coral reef communities, and
can result in the destruction of reef organisms, (Milliman, Levinton, cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992). Hurricanes
are a common occurrence throughout much of the Caribbean (Rogers et al., cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992).

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Major topographic elements identified are 1) A wide platform starting in Punta Maroma through the northeast 2)
Cozumel Island 3) The large Bays; Ascension and Espíritu Santo 4) The Xcalak Trench and 5) Chinchorro Bank.

The Quintana Roo shelf can be divided into two major areas, using Punta Maroma as a reference point.
Southward, the shelf is a narrow platform with a sharp slope. Northward, the platform starts widening. This
contrast helps explain differences in reef development. The reef profile is interrupted by well-developed wave-cut
terraces well at about 910 m (Ward and Wilson, cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992). Fore edges described in this
paper mostly develop in the first terrace where environmental conditions are severe, although it is more likely to
associate fore edge buttress-like reefs with erosional rather than accretional origin.

Upon reaching the Yucatan Peninsula, the presence of Cozumel Island modifies the Caribbean Current to form
the Yucatan Current. South of Cozumel part of it is funneled into the channel accelerating the speed up to 4 knots
(Merino cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992). The current's speed is assumed to influence sedimentation rates and
possible coral larvae settlements, particularly in the Playa del Carmen Subregion.

Ascension and Espíritu Santo are twin bays, which resulted from extensive normal faulting. The age of faulting is
considered to be Tertiary (Ward et al. cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992). According to López Ramos (cited in
Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992) Quintana Roo belongs to two physiographic regions; The Northern Pitted Karst Plain
fringed by barrier beaches and dune, developing from Cancun to Tulum; and the Eastern Block-Fault District that
extends from Tulum to Belize. The bays along with Chunyaxche Lagoon represent the northward extension of the
Eastern Block-Fault. The geological characteristics and hydrological dynamics outside the bays are different from
the rest of the coast; therefore reef development in this subregion can be explained with these bases.

There is no geological information about the Xcalak Trench, but there may be some similarities with the Belizean
reefs that develop southward to an almost continuous barrier down to Honduras. MacIntyre (cited in Gutiérrez-
Carbonell 1992) studies, dealing with shelf-edge ridges, indicates the existence of two hypothesis, the first one
speculates that they are late Holocene relic shallow water reefs, in contrast to the second one proposed by Burke
(cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992), that points out that ridges along the barrier reef complex are restricted to
areas protected from long period storm waves by the outlying atolls. To this respect, northeast of the Xcalak
Trench an atoll shaped reef, Chinchorro Bank is located, allowing for certain amount of protection.

Chinchorro Bank is a coral reef complex located 30 km off Quintana Roo's south coast. It has an area of 800 km2
mainly composed by a sandy bank. It is 46 km in length and 15 km in width. The general morphology of the reef
structures on the windward margin of the atoll are greatly influenced by the depth of the subjacent substrate and
the presence of an extensive and gently dipping platform; this platform is not found on other western Caribbean
atolls (Jordan y Martin cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992).

The main environmental factors identified for the Mexican Caribbean reefs are 1) Marine currents and local
counter-currents, predominant winds and wave forces 2) Sedimentation rates and nature of sediments 3)
Freshwater input in certain places 4) The Yucatan Upwelling and 5) Hurricane incidence.

Merino (cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992) made a very specific study along the Yucatan Current that showed the
existence of nearshore counter-currents along the entire coast that might have particular implications for reef
development. Furthermore he proposed the presence of small eddies between rocky points where objects are
trapped for a period of time moving northward and then southward and so on, until the drifter finally reaches the
coast. For coral larvae caught in these eddies this might imply traveling distances from few meters or many
kilometers in a microscale process.

Marine water and its currents affect distribution of sediments, either by transport or by erosion. Sedimentation
rates are related to a reef profile as quoted by Ward et al. (cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992), that points out of
the area where the narrow continental shelf begins to broaden there is a dramatic change in the sedimentation
regime of the 10 m platform.

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The entire Quintana Roo State is a karstic surface. Rainwater rapidly infiltrates the porous carbonate rock.
Consequently, there are almost no surface streams in all of the Yucatan Peninsula, instead there is a large
quantity of sinkholes and underground rivers. All discharge of this region occurs in the coastal and nearshore
areas as underwater springs, with the exception of Sian Ka'an.

The fractures act as conduits for the mixing of fresh groundwater and marine water. This results in an
undersaturated calcite solution that causes maximum dissolution of limestone. Thus maximum fracture density of
the Eastern Block-Fault District, is closely related to high incidence of "caletas" (Back et al., Weidie, cited in
Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992).

Another environmental feature that affects the northern and northeastern Yucatan Peninsula is the Yucatan
Upwelling which has a dominant influence around the northeastern corner at Cabo Catoche, and could have
some influence in its transition zone down to Puerto Morelos. The upwelling has a seasonal cycle, rising from the
deep layers of the sea entering the photic zone but not reaching the ocean surface, hence it has a relevant
fertilizing effect over water masses (Merino cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell D. 1992).

The Yucatan Peninsula is largely affected by hurricanes. There were 31 storms or hurricanes that hit the Mexican
Caribbean between 1960 and 1988, most of them concentrated in two parts; south near the Belizean border; and
between Cozumel and the Yucatan Channel, leaving the central part free of hurricanes for that period.

In Mexico, Jordan (cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992) reported the damages produced by Hurricane Allen to the
reef and widely discussed the role of hurricanes on reef development, proposing that the low reef development in
Quintana Roo might be a consequence of environmental severity, and the high frequency of storms and
hurricanes in the region might help to regulate reef development. Roberts et al. (1985) reported that wave force
declined with depth, but force attributed to currents increased at depths of 36 m or more. The sum of both
provided a bimodal pattern with a minimum of about 10 m.

These conditions resulted in the following characteristics of the Mexican Caribbean reef system:

The incline of the reef slope creates a more severe shallow environment north of Punta Maroma, limiting reef
development and promoting higher sedimentation rates.

Southern fore reefs up to Puerto Aventuras develop where the most stable conditions prevail, allowing accretion
over long periods.

The spur and groove systems seem to have had vigorous accretion processes and do not originated from erosion
processes; in particular below 20m.

Cozumel Island influences current conditions, hence its presence determines the lack of constructional spurs
north of Puerto Aventuras.

Most of the Quintana Roo Fore Edges lie on the 810 m terrace, colonized by a coral community, but
environmental severity in the shallows might not allow reef accretion to be very large in size.

Chinchorro's shadow allows high coral reef development adjacent to the mainland, from Xcalak to Bacalar Chico,
allowing the development of the Xcalak Trench.

Reef Zonation

Three structural coral reef zones were identified according to previous studies that already described Quintana
Roo's coral reef zonation's main characteristics: Lagoon, Reef Crest and Fore Reef (Jordan, Padilla et al., cited in
Gutiérrez-Carbonell 1992).

Lagoon
The presence of this zone is closely associated with a breaker zone, which provides protection and therefore
calms the waters. It can be very wide (to more than 3 km) and up to 8 m deep, such as in the Bays Subregion. It

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can be very narrow and shallow as in the Majahual Subregion, where the back reef develops almost to the coast
and it can be almost or completely absent from the rocky shores as in the Caletas Subregion.

Reef Crest
Within the reef crest it is possible to identify the back reef, the breaker zone and the fore edge.

Back reef characteristics are determined by the degrees of development of the breaker zone; thus it can be very
wide and cover a large area between the breakers and the beach, such as in the Puerto Morelos Subregion; it
can be quite narrow like in the Sian Ka'an South Subregion, or almost absent like in the Playa del Carmen
Subregion.

The presence of a breaker zone is strongly related to the severity of environmental conditions for each subregion.
This zone is more exposed to winds, currents and nearby freshwater discharges. It can develop as a barrier--
shape or bank such as in the Xcalak Trench Subregion; it can be faint or very shallow as in the Sian Ka'an North
Subregion, or it can be absent or almost absent like in the Playa del Carmen Subregion.

Although the fore edge is quite diverse along the coast, most of it was recorded as a limestone terrace that drops
to 810 meters. Seawards, a sand channel running parallel to the coast can often be found. The terrace can be an
almost flat rock, where a few coral colonies grow such as in the Puerto Morelos Subregion; or it can show low
relief and wide spurs (2 m high) as in the Bays Subregion. The fore edge can be eroded, showing an
interdigitating pattern resembling spurs and grooves such as in the Sian Ka'an North Subregion; or it can show a
mixture of coral formations between those that grow over the terrace and those that are relatively close to the
terrace, but show an active coral growth. Their shape seems to be constructional as in the Majahual Subregion.
The fore edge is one of the reef zones with higher diversity, where the colonies tend to be small with no apparent
dominating species. Several of the features listed as factors that influence reef development are associated with
this zone, being as many scenarios as subregions.

Fore Reef
Quintana Roo fore reefs may be divided into two large groups; to the north of and south from Puerto Aventuras.
Northern subregions lack a fore reef, except at the northernmost section of the Puerto Morelos Subregion, where
a not very well developed fore reef was identified. The morphology of southern subregions, present spurs 2 to 12
m thick in the fore reef zone. The presence of spurs in southern subregions is more or less continuous from
Puerto Aventuras down to Bacalar Chico. It is possible to identify the inner fore reef, the outer fore reef, the deep
fore reef and the shelf edge reef. The deep fore reef was found only in some subregions. Because of divetime
limitations the shelf edge reef was only surveyed in the Caletas Subregion.

The fore reef develops in strips parallel to the coast. Most of the time the spur and groove strips are divided by
sand channels that also develop parallel to the coast. Many times there is a mixture and not a clear distinction
between the fore edge and the inner fore reef, developing continuous spur and groove systems from 68 m to 35-
45 m depth. The inner fore reef develops in depths ranging from 6 to 25 m, the outer fore reef develops in depths
ranging from 15 to 40 m, the deep fore reef develops in depths ranging from 35 to 50 m, and the shelf edge reef
develops at the wall.

The inner fore reef showed an average coral coverage of around 30%. It develops buttresses up to 7 m high and
up to 30-45 m long, 410 m wide. The outer fore reef showed an average coral coverage around 35%, some very
rich subregions such as Caletas and Sian Ka'an North reached up to 45% on average and developed buttresses
up to 12 m high, 75100 m long and 2030 m wide. The deep fore reef showed huge buttresses that were not
measured, with an average coral cover above 50%.

Regionalization

The entire Quintana Roo reef system presents great variability in each geographical area, due to different
morphology and development degrees, therefore, 19 subregions were identified and characterized. Within each of
these subregions, the topographic features as well as the coral communities are more or less uniform. The main
criteria used to define subregions were: the presence or absence of buttresses on the fore reef, the presence or

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absence of a breaker zone, the fore reef's degree of development based on the size of spurs and the presence or
absence of trenches. Table 8 summarizes general descriptions for each subregion.

Table 8.
Region Subregion Latitudinal Main features, coral cover and Length Lagoon and Spurs at Spurs at Development
Range number of species present (km) breaker zone Fore Fore Reef
Edge
CONTOYAN 1. Contoy- 21°32' to Wide shelf, influence from 47 Absent Absent Absent Low
Cancun 21°02'18.9" upwelling. Only patch reefs.
Coral cover unknown, 27
species
CANCUNEAN 2. Puerto 21°02'18.9" Wide shelf, the most smooth 50 Very Low and Absent Medium
Morelos to 20°43' shelf slope of all subregions, developed, not well
very wide lagoon, some barrier shaped defined
influence from the upwelling.
Coral cover 25.82%, 39 species
3.Playa del 20°43' to Medium shelf, medium slope 25 Almost absent Absent Absent Low
Carmen 20°30' with strong currents, Cozumel
Island influence, lagoon almost
absent. Coral cover 13.07%, 37
species
SIANKA’ANEAN 4. Caletas 20°30' to Narrow shelf, steep slope with 30 Present only Present Generally High
20°08' the greatest freshwater influence at the mouths but highly
in the shallow reef crest. Rocky of inlets irregular developed
shores, short back reefs and
lagoons mostly at the inlets.
Coral cover 35.02%, 45 species.
5. Sian 20°08' to Narrow shelf, steep slope, 45 Well Present, Generally High
Ka'an North 19°46' medium freshwater input, developed well highly
medium to narrow lagoons. marked developed
Coral cover 24.6%, 42 species terrace
6. The Bays 19°46' to Probable large influence of tidal 55 Well Well Deep Medium
19°13' brackish water, medium slope, developed, defined, developed
wide shelf and the wider lagoon barrier very wide only
of all subregions. Coral cover shaped, but but low
14.68%, 38 species not continuos.
7. Sian 19°13' to Narrow shelf, steep slope, 55 Irregular Low Deep Medium
Ka'an South 18°43'40" narrow reef crest, presence of developed
deep and very deep spurs. Coral only
cover 22.41%, 41 species
8. Majahual 18°43'40" Narrow shelf, under slight 50 Well Low and Generally High
to 18°16' influence of Chinchorro's developed, irregular highly
shadow. Back reef developing barrier shaped at north; developed
almost to the beach, terraces well
well marked. Coral cover develope
27.53%, 46 species d at south
9. Xcalak 18°16' to Presence of the Xcalak trench 11 Well Well Well High
Trench 18°10'30" allows the develop of twin reef developed, develope developed
crest and fore reefs, under some barrier shaped d at the twin
influence of Chinchorro's zonation
shadow. Coral cover 24.41%, 33
species present.
OCEANIC 10. 21°17'15" Platform submerged reef, strong Not Absent ? ? ?
Arrowsmith to currents. Coral cover and Apply
20°51'00" species number unknown.
11. Cozumel 20°34' to Narrow shelf, steep slope, 40 Absent Absent Well Medium
Leeward 20°15'29" presence of reef patches and developed
edge reef at the south. Coral at the
cover 10.71%, 41 species. edge reef.
12. Cozumel 20°35'20" Wide shelf, generally low 45 Absent Generally Generally Medium
Windward to development at shallow zones. absent deep
20°15'29" Coral cover 18.91%, 43 species. developed
13. Bajo 20°35'20" Wide shelf, presence of isolated 16 Absent Absent Absent Low
Cozumel to 20°34' big coral heads, with a coral
cover of 15.18%, 19 species.

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14. 18°23'16" Narrow shelf, steep slope, low 43 Irregular Absent Low relief Medium
Chinchorro to relief spurs at southern point. At breaker zone. at south.
Leeward 18°46'11"* center, two edge reef Lagoon well Absent al
developed.. developed. center.
15. 18°23'16" Wide shelf, high coral cover at 43 Well Very well Low relief High
Chinchorro to fore edge. developed develope
Windward 18°46'11"* d
16. 18°23'16" Very wide, it presents a long 43 Well Not Apply Not Apply High
Chinchorro to trench in the south. developed
Lagoon 18°46'11"*

General Description of the Mexican Caribbean Subregions

G. Northern Quintana Roo Patch Reefs

Reef patches are found in Mujeres Bay (Manchones, Cuevones, Chital, etc.) south of Isla Contoy (Islaché Grande
and Islaché Chico). They are generally small with high coral coverage, except those that have been impacted by
touristic activities.

G.1 Contoy-Cancun Subregion


Isla Contoy does not present reef development; limestone substrata is covered by algae and sandy bottoms are
covered with sea grasses. Scleractinians are present in small and dispersed colonies; total cover is less than 10%
(Lara et al. 1993). South of Contoy a fringing reef called Islaché is present; it has a back reef with massive
growths of Montastrea annularis and Acropora palmata, with high coral diversity but low coverage (Lara et al. op.
cit.).

Between Punta Cancun and Isla Mujeres, coral development is scarce, with some Acropora palmata patches
damaged by hurricane Gilbert in 1988. Intensive touristic activities take place in this area, but there are still some
small zones in good shape. At Isla Mujeres, two patches of A. palmata and M. annularis, that reach 5m in height
and are about 400m long (Manchones), have also been impacted by tourism. Other patches like El Garrafón have
been completely destroyed.

At Punta Cancun, scleractinian corals are established on the edge of limestone steps (probably ancient coast
lines) at a depth of 12 to 18 meters. Some patches of Montastrea annularis and Acropora palmata and extensive
gorgonian flats can be found in their vicinity.

H. Northern Quintana Roo Shallow Fringing Reefs

From Punta Nizuc to Puerto Aventuras, a discontinuous fringing reef develops over on the shallow areas of a
wide platform, that narrows south of Punta Maroma.

H.1 Puerto Morelos Subregion


Located from Punta Nizuc (21o 02' 19" N, 86o 46' 45" W) to Punta Maroma (20o 42' N, 86o 59' W). Its main
characteristic is the presence of well-developed barrier shaped breakers and wide lagoons; at Punta Nizuc there
is a spur and groove system with very low relief development, which eventually disappears; the reef crest ends at
this point. Results show, that the smooth slope is one of the likely main factors that limit coral reef development,
combined with some other factors such as tropical storms, hurricanes and slight influences from the Yucatan
Upwelling that makes this area an area of high environmental severity.

This subregion seems to be partially protected from the strong currents inside the Cozumel Channel allowing the
presence of a well-developed shadow reef Crest, an argument that likely lead Jordan (1989) to conclude that the
Barrier reef of Quintana Roo has an atypical configuration, however this seems to be applicable only for this area.

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H.2 Playa del Carmen Subregion


Located from Punta Bete (20° 41' N, 87° 00' W) to Puerto Aventuras (20° 30' N, 87° 13' W). Its main characteristic
is a short reef crest colonized by small coral colonies. In front of Playa del Carmen sand accumulation is
noticeable. Additionally, there is always a strong current that increases during the summer, limiting possibilities for
coral larvae to colonize the area.

When available, substrate is occupied by sponges and sea fans. It is interesting to note the development of wide
fine algal strips parallel to the coast at the same depths that reef formations should do. The strength and direction
of the Yucatan current affects the topography on the shelf and strongly influences the distribution of sediments,
scouring the bottom in some places and piling up dunes. This is the case of Punta Maroma where a series or
ridges are clearly manifested.

I. Southern Quintana Roo Deep Fringing Reefs

South from Puerto Aventuras to Xcalak, on the border with Belize, and down to the tip of Ambergris Cay, Belize,
deep and highly developed fringing reefs are present on a very narrow platform.

I.1 Caletas Subregion


Located from Puerto Aventuras (20° 30'N, 87° 13'W) to Tankah (20° 14'N, 87° 23'W). Its main characteristics are:
rocky shores, the presence of a reef crests only between rocky points protecting lagoons and beaches, inputs of
freshwater close to the shore, the steepness of the slope and the development of an important spur and groove
system without a well-developed reef crest.

It can be assumed that the serrated coast south from Playa del Carmen to Tulum is the result of a meso-scale
process of limestone dissolution that also causes the paucity of a well-developed breaker zone in reefs of this
area. In fact there are great underground river complexes close to the shore, such as the Carwash and Naharon
systems explored by Akumal divers at depths of 2500 and 4900m, respectively.

I.2 Sian Ka'an North Subregion


Located from Tankah (20° 14' N, 87° 23' W) to Punta Xohken (19° 50' N, 87° 25' W). Its main characteristics are:
the presence of a lagoon complex behind the barrier island that configures the coast, a directional change of the
coast from NE to SW an almost N-S direction, the presence of well-developed reef zones along the entire reef
including the deep fore reef, and a spur and groove system with buttresses more than 12 m thick.

I.3 The Bays Subregion


Located from Punta Xohken (19° 50' N, 87° 25' W) to Punta X-Kanab Haltun (19° 17' N, 87° 27' W). The bays are
large shallow bodies with an 25 km mouth opening to the Caribbean. The bays are protected by a line of barrier
shaped breakers that produce relatively calm waters. The shelf is wider at the mouths and displays a mosaic of
coral reef development containing: areas with thick buttresses, places where buttresses are almost absent or
short, very wide and covered almost completely by Agaricia tenuifolia and places where only deep buttresses are
present.

I.4 Sian Ka'an South Subregion


Located from Punta X-Kanab Haltun (19° 17' N, 87° 27' W) to Punta Rio Indio (18° 46' N, 87° 39' W). Its main
characteristics are: all reef zones are well developed particularly in areas of great depth, including a deep fore
reef. New species were recorded from this subregion to the south, including: Agaricia grahamae, Porites
colonensis and Oculina robusta.

I.5 Majahual Subregion


Located from Punta Rio Indio (18° 46' N, 87° 39' W) to Xcalak (18° 16' N, 87° 49' W). It presents a mosaic of well-
developed reef formations with large sandy areas between them. It receives protection from the prevailing winds
from Chinchorro's shadow (Burke cited in Gutiérrez-Carbonell and García 1996).

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I.6 Xcalak Trench Subregion


This subregion starts 1 km south of Xcalak (18° 16' N, 87° 49' W) entering 2 km into Belize where it is called
Sandy Valley. This underwater trench drops to a depht of 38 to 43 m, being 100 to 500 m wide. This feature is
unique for the Mexican Caribbean. As a result of the trench, a similar zonation pattern is observed on both sides
of the trench. High relief and well developed reef zones are observed. According to Burke (cited in Gutierrez-
Carbonell, 1996) this subregion is influenced by Chinchorro's shadow, which provides some protection from the
prevailing winds and allows for constant reef development. This suggests that the ridges are active accumulations
of the rapidly growing coral, Acropora cervicornis.

J. Arrowsmith Bank

Arrowsmith Bank is considered to be a submerged platform (Lara, pers. comm.), although Jordán (1993) affirms
that it is somewhat risky to consider it a reef on the basis that little is known about the zone.

J.1 Arrowsmith Subregion


Due to the strong currents, this area, located next to the Yucatan Channel has scarcely been prospected or
studied. Cairns (cited in Horta-Carricart 1993) lists a number of deep water Scleractinia and Stylasterina for the
area.

K. Isla Cozumel Reefs

K.1 Leeward Cozumel Subregion


The leeward side of Cozumel Island extends from Punta Celarain (20° 15' 29" N and 87° 00' 07" W) to Punta
Norte. Its main characteristic is a narrow stretch of sand 500 to 1000 m wide, originating from the beach and
gradually descending to a depth of 18 to 21 m to the shelf edge that drops to around 400 m. The north end of the
island has no trace of coral development as opposed to the south region where variably sized reef patches atop
the sand are found starting at Paradise Reef. These are not highly developed but attain high coral coverage.
From Santa Rosa to the South is an older, spectacular and well developed formation of coral containing few
Scleractinians and dominated by sponges and algae (García et al. 1997a), did not keep up with the rise of sea
level and is eroding faster than it is increasing (Jordan 1988). Laguna de Chankanaab is a small coastal cove with
an underground connection to the sea. The coral reef community within the cove was affected by the sand from
the surrounding artificial beach as a result of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

K.2 Windward Cozumel Subregion


The windward side of Cozumel Island from Punta Celarain (20° 15' 29" N and 87° 00' 07"W) to Punta Molas (20°
36' 00" N and 89°52'00"W) displays a gradually descending insular platform that reaches the drop off point at
about 90 120 m. The same sort of zonation described for the continental zone exists at greater depths along this
side of the island, but the area does not have a breakers zone, thus there is no back reef. The fore reef presents
limited development with spur and groove-like rises covered with algae and gorgonians. Between Punta Celarain
and Punta Morena there are well developed spur and groove formations, some of which reach 8 m in height with
high coral coverage. The area of Hanam presents microatolls of calcareous algae and shallow highly developed
spur and groove systems, with high coral coverage (García et al. 1997a).

K.3 Cozumel Shallows (Bajo) Subregion


This area is located between Punta Molas (20° 36' 00" N and 89° 52' 00" W) and Punta Norte (18° 34' 00" W).
Over a distance of 6 to 8 km this area of slowly descending sandy bottom reaches depths of only 12m. There is
no conspicuous reef development in the subregion. Close to the coast at 5 8m depth, large sized Montastrea
annularis formations, some reaching up to 1m below the surface, are abundant. (García et al. 1997a).

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L. Chinchorro Bank Reefs


Chinchorro Bank represents an emerged platform reef (Aguilar-Dávila and Aguilar-Perera 1993). Jordán (1993)
affirms that Chinchorro Bank is constructed over a deep submarine crest and not over a continental or insular
platform, on account that it is considered an atoll and at the same time the only reef to have existed before the
Pleistocene within Mexican waters. Chávez and Hidalgo (1988), affirm that Chinchorro has greater diversity and is
more heterogeneous than the platforms of the Campeche Bank.

L.1 Leeward Chinchorro Subregion


Its main characteristic is a short platform with a significant slope reaching 18 to 21 meters followed by sudden
drop off. Along the edge of the lagoon a short semicircle of Acropora palmata similar to that of a fringing reef is
present. The southern end of Chinchorro presents, low relief spurs and channels dominated by gorgonians and
algae, with sparse scleractinean coverage. Within the central portion presents a series of steps parallel to the
bank whose edges have extensive reef development. Between the steps, the slope drops at an angle of 40 to 50
degrees.

L.2 Windward Chinchorro Subregion


Its main characteristics are a fringing reef and back reef that develop all along the bank, with a well-developed
reef crest. A well developed spur and groove system with vast amounts of Millepora complanata and Agaricia
agaricites coverage make up the transition to the windward side of the bank.

L.3 Chinchorro Reef Lagoon Subregion


The Reef Lagoon is a wide continuous zone within the Chinchorro Bank breakers. The southern portion presents
long up-rises and well developed coral mounds, made up mostly of Montastrea annularis. The central portion
presents patches of gorgonians and small sized heads of M. annularis. Very little reef development is present in
the northern portion.

(Adapted and expanded from Gutierrez-Carbonell and García 1996)

3.5 Present Threats

Over millions of years corals have adapted to natural caused impacts. Presently, not only the direct human
caused impacts that harm the reef need to be considered, but also, the synergistic impact of catastrophic natural
events over weakened coral reefs and communities.

Some impacts, such as present effects of overfishing herbivore fish on the reef structure are very hard to
measure, since a baseline before the fishing activity developed simply does not exist for any given area. Locating
areas where low intensity fishing activities take place, or establishing functional no-take zones and monitoring
them over a long period of time, may be the closest we would ever get to infer this baseline. The same could be
said on impacts derived from sedimentation, nutrients, pollutants and tourism, only better opportunities for
establishing a baseline might still exist.

3.5.1 Pacific Ocean

Very little information exists on the natural and human caused impacts on the coral reefs and communities on the
Mexican Pacific. A strange pattern emerges, when analyzing the places where coral communities seem to
concentrate on the Mexican Pacific. Most of the coral rich areas are places subject to intensive touristic
development; Baja California Sur, Bahía de Banderas, Guerrero and Oaxaca. Even though, this phenomenon
could be attributed to better knowledge ot these areas, due to existing infrastructure, derived from the touristic
developments, it is clear that tourism can generate significant impacts on these very localized an small
communities. The increase of sediments from rivers, as deforestation increases in the adjacent watersheds, will
surely generate increasing impacts. Impacts derived from other activities such as: port activities, oil exploration,
agricultural runoff, etc., seem to be of lesser importance, but should not be overlooked. The following list of
impacts was created from information compiled by Reyes-Bonilla (1993).

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Table 9. Natural and human impacts to the coral reef resources of the Mexican Pacific, including selected
references

Impacts Comment (Selected Reference)


NATURAL (Reyes-Bonilla 1993a)
El Niño Cabo Pulmo and Los Cabos. Other locations unstudied. (Reyes-Bonilla,
1993a)
Bleaching Cabo Pulmo. Mortality in populations of Pocillopora spp and Porites
panamensis (Reyes-Bonilla 1993b, 1993c).
Cold thermal stress Massive deaths of Pocillopora (Wilson 1990). This is an unpredictable
phenomenon
Hurricanes An evaluation needs to be done on the impact of Hurricane Pauline
(Oct. 1997) on coral reefs and communities off the coast of Oaxaca and
Guerrero.
HUMAN (Reyes-Bonilla 1993a).
Souvenirs Several states (Reyes-Bonilla 1993a).
Aquarium fishing Gulf of California. SCUBA diving collectors - unstudied. Coral breakages
as a result of collecting aquarium fishes - unstudied.
Anchor damage The entire Pacific. The effects are greater than natural erosion
(Reyes-Bonilla and Hernández-Cortés, cited in Reyes-Bonilla 1993a).
Building Baja California Peninsula. The ancient human populations used coral
blocks to build up houses (del Barco cited in Reyes-Bonilla 1993a).
Touristic infrastructure Probable but uncertain in Guerrero and Oaxaca. Some reports for Los
Cabos (Reyes-Bonilla 1993a).
Runoff by deforestation Unstudied but present in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Nayarit.
Sewage Los Cabos and Acapulco - unstudied.

3.5.2 Gulf of Mexico

The existence of a large body of information over a long period of time, has allowed for greater knowledge on
natural and human caused impacts on the coral reefs and communities on the Gulf of Mexico, especially for the
Southern Veracruz Reef System and some structures in the Campeche Bank such as Cayo Arcas. In general, the
Veracruz reefs have suffered the greatest impact, due to their proximity to the coast and their location close to
important ports such as Veracruz and Tuxpan, which subjects them to the whole range of human threats.
Campeche Bank reefs have been subjected over the last 25 years to impacts derived from oil related activities. A
deep water oil port was installed by Cayo Arcas and cronic small spills, in addition to accidental large spills affect
the health of the coral banks. The following list of impacts was compiled by Tunnel (1992).

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Table 10. Natural and human impacts to the coral reef resources of the southern Gulf of Mexico, including
selected references (cited by Tunnell 1992).

Impacts Comment (Selected Reference)


NATURAL Southern Veracruz reefs (Tunnell 1988).
Freshwater inflow
Winter fronts
Wind/waves/turbidity Nearshore Veracruz reefs.
Cold thermal stress Mostly northern Veracruz reefs.
Hurricanes All reefs; frequency low; storm tossed boulders on most windward reef
crests (Rigby and McIntyre 1966).
Diadema die-off Concurrent with Caribbean-wide die off in the 1980s now recovering.
Bleaching Moderate and localized, not widespread.
Black-Band Disease Not widespread but increasing in recent years.
HUMAN
Oil and gas activities.
Deballasting chronic small spills La Blanquilla (Santiago 1977), Arcas (Chávez and Hidalgo 1988).
Large oil spills IXTOC l impacts, over most southern Gulf reefs (Jernelov and Linden
1981, Chávez and Hidalgo 1988)
Exploration Northern Veracruz reefs and Arcas (Chávez and Hidalgo 1988).
Overfishing
Clams ("almejas") Seagrass beds being destroyed by this fishery on nearshore southern
Veracruz reefs.
Conch Exterminated from Veracruz reefs in 1970s overfished on Alacran with
500-2000 taken per fishing boat per 2-week trip in 1986.
Fish Snapper and grouper almost depleted on southern Veracruz reefs;
commercial spearfishermen now taking many other species (parrot fish,
angel fish, surgeon fish, etc.)
Lobster Seldom seen on southern Veracruz reefs; overfished on Alacran and
other Campeche Bank reefs.
West Indian Seal Exterminated from Campeche Bank reef islands (Ward 1887, Fosberg
1962)
Municipal and industrial pollution Greatest around large cities of Veracruz and Coatzacoalcos
Urban sewage Nearshore Veracruz city
Agricultural chemical Uninvestigated, but potential with southern state of Veracruz crops
(tobacco, sugar cane, pineapple)
Dredging/Excavation Channel dredging for oil exploration and production, Lobos (Rigby and
McIntyre 1966); construction of Fort San Juan de Ulua, Veracruz city
from Gallega Reef
Poor land/river management Clearing of mangroves from river mouths (Rio Jamapa) and poor inland
practices have increased nearshore sediment load and run-off
Coral collecting La Blanquilla (Santiago 1977) and other Veracruz area reefs; many curio
shops with local corals in Veracruz city
Commercial curio trade
Personal souvenirs
Sport diving and tourism Large numbers of divers on Anton Lizardo reefs on weekends, 2-6
busloads per weekend from Mexico City
Anchor and propeller damage Mainly from small boats, on reefs and in lagoons (Santiago 1977)
Shipwrecks/groundings Several large vessels on Alacranes and Arenas; late 1990 grounding of
New Hope from Panama on western Chopas (still present and
abandoned in June 1991).

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3.5.3 Caribbean Sea

Caribbean coral reefs contain the most highly developed structures for México and apparently some of the most
pristine reef areas remaining. Nevertheless, since the 1960s, the reefs have been subjected to an intense
artisanal fishing effort, whose impact has not been evaluated. Tourism has become an increasing reef impacting
activity since the mid-1970s. Small reef patches such as El Garrafón at Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc at Cancun,
have been completely destroyed by tourism and impacts are becoming more evident along the Cancun-Tulum
Touristic Corridor in places such as Akumal and Puerto Morelos. This tendency seems to be accelerating and
impacts derived not only from direct touristic use, but from impacts caused indirectly by tourism, such as urban
growth and coastal development without adequate sewage treatment on karstic subsoil, are becoming the most
important threat.

Table 11. Natural and human impacts to the coral reef resources of the Mexican Caribbean, including selected
references

Impacts Comment (Selected Reference)


NATURAL
Hurricanes All reefs, frequency high, variable magnitude and relatively fast recovery
(Fenner 1991, Rodriguez-Martinez 1993, Crespo-Romero 1991, García
et al. 1996).
Bleaching All reefs, eventually, moderate and localized effects (García et al. 1996).
Black band All reefs, sporadic effects on isolated colonies effects (García et al.
1996).
HUMAN
Overfishing
Black coral Cozumel island and North Coast. Highly damaged populations (Kenyon,
1993, Camarena 1996, De la Torre 1978).
Monk seal Exterminated in Caribbean Sea in the middle century (Villa et al. cited in
Morales 1987 )
Marine turtle Endangered (Durán 1990, Durán 1991, Gil, 1988, Gil y Miranda 1990).
Grouper Reduction in number of individuals in massive aggregation events at
Southern Q. Roo (Aguilar et al. 1994).
Conch Overfishing in all state (Cruz-Santabalbina 1986).
Lobster All Caribbean Sea. Reduction on catches (Orr 1985).
Souvenirs Harvesting of corals, gorgonians, sea stars and shells mainly (Jordán
1993).
Aquarium Low scale. Mainly over fishes, corals, anemones, algae and live rock for
house and commercial aquariums. Potentially danger effects (Jordán
1993).
Tourism
Sport diving Intensive use due to its status as an international diving destination.
Nautical sports There are around 700 touristic boats in Cancun (P.N. Costa Occ. de I.
Mujeres, Pta Cancun y Pta. Nizuc)
Touristic infrastructure All along the coast. High intensity impacts and short term during
construction; low intensity and long term impacts during operation
(Jordán 1993).
Urban pollution Mainly in Cancun-Tulum corridors. Filtration to the underground currents
of pesticides and agricultural chemicals and sewage (Jordan 1993).
Anchor and propeller damage All Quintana Roo. Caused by fishermen and touristic boats.
Shipwrecks Several old vessels on Banco Chinchorro (Aguilar et al. 1993). Vessel
reef grounding accidents are constantly being reported.

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4. The International Coral Reef Initiative


The following chapter was copied from Partnership Building and Framework Development, The Final Report: The
International Coral Reef Initiative Workshops, (ICRI, 1995), except 4.7 which was copied from Consultation on
coastal Resource Management in The Tropical America (ICRI, 1995). They are included in this document only for
easy reference and to be used as the framework for the National Program for the Conservation and Sustainable
use of Mexican Coral Reefs detailed in Chapter 5:

4.1 Background

In 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the world community adopted
Agenda 21. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 identifies the importance of marine and coastal issues in the achievement
of sustainable economic development and environmental cooperation. It identifies coral reefs, mangroves and
seagrass beds as marine ecosystems of high biodiversity and production and it recommends that they be
accorded high priority for identification and protection.

The ICRI is a partnership consisting of like-minded nations and organizations seeking to implement Chapter 17 of
Agenda 21, and other international conventions and agreements, for the benefit of coral reefs and related
ecosystems. Founded by eight governments- Australia, France, Japan, Jamaica, the Philippines, Sweden, the
United Kingdom and the United States of America- the ICRI was announced at the First Conference of the Parties
(COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity in December 1994, and at the high level segment of the U.N.
Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) Intercessional Meeting in April 1995. Since then, the ICRI has
come to encompass the participation and support of additional governments, U.N. organizations, regional
environmental organizations, multilateral development banks, environmental and development NGOs, and the
private sector.

As ICRI became more active, it became clear to the partners that a coordinating body should be established. In
January 1995, the eight founding ICRI partner governments, as well as representative from other interested
entities, met in Washington and established an ICRI Planning Committee from which Executive Planning
Committee (EPC) was derived. The ICRI Planning Committee is composed of the eight founding partner
governments as well as representatives from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Inter
American Development Bank, the World Bank, United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and UNEP's
Caribbean Environment Program (CEP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Coordinating Body on Southeast Asia
(COBSEA) and the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program (SPREP). The EPC is composed of the same
eight founding partner governments and representatives of the IUCN, UNEP, and the World Bank.

In practice, the EPC has become the working level coordinating body for ICRI. It meets periodically to provide
guidance to the ICRI Secretariat and to facilitate planning and decision making. For the sake of continuity and
consistency, the ICRI Planning Committee has agreed to retain the present composition of the EPC meeting in
April 1996.

One of the first decisions of the EPC was to recognize the need for, and give its concurrence to, the
establishment of an ICRI Coordinating Office/Secretariat. Currently, Australia hosts the Coordinating Office.

A second early EPC decision was to sponsor an international workshop focusing on coral reefs. In anticipation of
the workshop, the ICRI Secretariat and the EPC worked to produce a "Call to Action." The purpose was to provide
the broad principles which could be used to unify the workshop. The Call to Action reflects a concern over the
continuous degradation and damage to coral reef and related seagrass bed and mangrove communities or
ecosystems; the difficulty of determining the threat spectrum (direct, indirect, potential) to the ecosystems; the
significance of reefs to the world community as well as to individuals; measures that can help to reduce the
threats; and what types of actions under those measures the ICRI might best collectively focus its attention upon -
either through encouragement or direct activities.

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Participants of the Dumaguete workshop provided additional insights, leading to changes in the draft of the Call to
Action approved by consensus at the workshop.
The international ICRI workshop was held at Dumaguete City, the Philippines, from May 29 through June 2, 1995.
The intent of the workshop was to enable nations, donors and funding agencies, development organizations,
NGOs, the research community and the private sector to work together in order to develop a Framework for
Action for coral reefs. The Framework, which appears in its entirety in this report and which was developed from
the collective deliberation and wisdom of the participants, will serve as a comprehensive guide to mobilize
national, regional, and international actions on behalf of coral reefs.

4.2 Objectives and Approach

The long-term vision for ICRI is to build and sustain partnerships with particular emphasis on increasing the
capacity of countries and regions to achieve effective management and sustainable use of coral reefs and related
environments. The ICRI seeks to provide for the protection, restoration, and sustainable use, understanding and
enjoyment of coral reefs and associated ecosystems of the world for the benefit of present and future generations,
in perpetuity.

The approach of the initiative is twofold: 1) to raise global and local awareness and obtain national, regional and
global commitments to conserve and sustainable use coral reefs and associated ecosystems; and 2) to use and
better coordinate governmental and regional agency efforts, as well as stimulate and facilitate the development of
new activities, to address coral reef issues. The initiative has, and will continue to, involve partnerships and
coordination with international and regional organizations including UNEP and its Regional Seas programs; IUCN;
COBSEA; the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); UNESCO and its Coastal Marine Program
(COMAR) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC); UNDP; U.N. Conference on Environment
and Development (UNCED); the World Bank and the regional multilateral development banks; and NGOs, the
private sector and the scientific community.

The ICRI seeks to facilitate the leveraging and channeling of resources among all sectors (governments and
nongovernmental organizations) for the benefit of coral reefs and associated environments. The ICRI does not
intend to establish new bureaucracy or act as a funding source.

The broad objectives of the ICRI are:

- For governments and international organizations: To strengthen implementation of existing programs at the
local, national, regional, and international level to conserve, restore and promote sustainable use of coral reefs
and associated environments;

- For each country and region: To incorporate management provisions for protection, restoration, and sustainable
use of the structure, processes and biodiversity of coral reefs and associated environments into existing local,
regional, and national development plans;

- To strengthen capacity for development and implementation of policies, management research, and monitoring
coral reefs and associated environments; and

- To establish and maintain coordination of international, regional, and national research and monitoring
programs, including the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network in association with the Global Ocean Observing
System; and to ensure efficient use of scarce resources and a flow of information relevant to management of
coral reefs and associated environments.

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4.3 The Call to Action

The Call to Action was approved by the EPC and the participants of the International Planning Workshop on
Friday, June 2, 1995, and states that:

The nations and organizations supporting the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) urge attention to the
following:

The Global Problem

Coral reefs are in serious decline globally, especially those near shallow shelves and dense populations. It has
been estimated that 10 percent of the earth's coral reefs have already been seriously degraded and a much
greater percentage is threatened. If allowed to continue, this decline is likely to lead to the loss of most of the
world's reef resources during the next century.

Threats to Coastal Ecosystems

The reasons for the decline in reef health are varied, complex, and often difficult to accurately determine. While
natural events -such as storm damage, predator infestations, and variations in temperature- have some impact on
reef ecosystems, human activity is a primary agent of degradation. Contributing factors include:

- Direct impacts from activities such as resource extraction, in-filling, overharvesting, and diving and boating
activities, as well as nutrient enrichment and toxic pollution;
- Inadequate planning and management of coastal land use, including upland activities;
- Potential adverse effects of climate change, including temperature and sea-level changes, alteration of natural
patterns of precipitation, tropical storms, and ocean circulation; and
- Population growth, increasing pollution and increased uses of the fragile resources will accelerate the decline in
coral reef ecosystems, with societal and ecological effects extending beyond reef environments.

The Significance of Coral Reef Ecosystems

Coral reef ecosystems offer benefits to humankind beyond those realized for food production, tourism, recreation,
aesthetics, and shoreline protection. Capable of sustaining innumerable coastal communities worldwide, these
ecosystems also have great economic, social and cultural importance to nations, and to entire regions. As
competition among multiple uses of reef resources increases, so too will their significance to the human
populations that depend on them.

Coral reef ecosystems are among the most biologically productive and diverse in the world; they also serve as
indicators of environment health. These facts were recognized at the 1992 United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development, where coral reefs and associated systems were accorded a high priority for
protection in Agenda 21.

Reducing the Threats

Threats from human-related impacts can be minimized or eliminated through:

- Improved and sustained management practices;


- Increased national and local capacities for coral reef ecosystems management;
- Increased political support for managing coral reef ecosystems; and
- The sharing of existing important and new information related to maintaining the health of these ecosystems.

The ICRI governments endorse the following measures, to be implemented through global, regional, and national
actions:

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Coastal Management

- Incorporate integrated coastal management measures into local, national, and regional coastal development
plans and projects and support their long-term implementation.
- These measures will serve as a framework for achieving the sustainable use of, and maintaining the health of,
coral reefs and associated environments.
- Develop coral reef initiatives (regional, national and/or local). These should use an ecosystem-based, integrated
approach that encourages participation and includes programs for community-based management or
comanagement of reef resources.

Capacity Building

- Establish regional networks to share knowledge, skills, and information.


- Develop and support educational and informational programs aimed at reducing adverse impacts of human
activities.
- Establish information exchanges with stakeholder communities.
- Improve developing nations' access to bilateral, multilateral, and other forms of financial and technical support
for coral reef management.

Research and Monitoring

- Use regional networks to achieve better coordination and cooperation among national research programs.
- Promote linkages between regional and global research and monitoring networks, such as CARICOMP
(Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity), PACICOM (Pacific Coastal Marine Productivity), and GOOS (Global
Ocean Observing System).
- Support research and monitoring programs, projects, or activities identified as essential to managing coral reef
ecosystems for the benefit of humankind.
- Promote the development and maintenance of a global coral reef monitoring network.

Review

- Periodically review the extent and success of implementation of actions identified in the initiative.

The nations and organizations supporting ICRI call upon all other relevant, international entities, governmental
and non governmental organizations, including the private sector and scientific communities, to undertake the
actions above.

4.4 Framework for Action

The ICRI Framework for Action was drafted by the Philippine workshop participants, reflecting a unique
partnership of governments, U.N. agencies, donors, scientists, NGOs, and industry. The Framework will launch
much more detailed regional and national priority setting in the next eight months, and therefore was deliberately
focused on actions at the global level.

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The participants developed the Framework for Action so that it would directly address the measures identified in
the Call to Action to achieve improved coastal management, capacity building, research and monitoring and
review. The drafting process took account of the issues raised in the preliminary discussions and keynote
addresses as well as the workshops which were organized, initially, in relation to the four themes of the Call to
Action, and second, in relation to the perspective of the regional groups. This approach enabled participants to
address issues and priorities, drawing on their experience as practitioners and paying particular regard to creating
a framework that would address the range of regional requirement, as well as the feasibility of actions in a range
of regional and developmental settings.

The results of the workshop discussions in the two sessions were then considered by an open-ended drafting
group, which included the Executive Planning Committee (EPC) members, chairs of the working groups and
others who expressed a particular interest in being involved in the drafting of the Framework.

The ICRI workshop participants reviewed the initial draft of the framework in a plenary session. A revised draft
was considered and adopted, with minor amendments taking place at subsequent plenary sessions on June 2.

Framework for Action

Maintaining the biological diversity, condition, resources, and values of coral reefs and related ecosystems is a
matter of global urgency. While the majority of countries which have coral reefs are developed countries, there
are many reefs in the waters of developing countries. This unites the developed and developing countries and
should command the attention of the international community. Coral reef survival depends upon the world
community acquiring and maintaining the knowledge and capacity to conserve and sustainable use coral reefs
and related ecosystems. This requires that all uses and impacts be brought within and maintained at levels which
do not exceed these systems' natural capacity for production and regeneration.

The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) Workshop was held at Silliman University in Dumaguete City,
Philippines in May 1995 to enable countries, donors, development and funding agencies to work with coral reef
managers, private sector representatives, nongovernmental organizations and scientists to develop this
Framework as a basis for achieving sustainable management of coral reefs and related ecosystems.

The ICRI Framework for Action builds upon and reflects the principles and processes established by Agenda 21,
the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the U.N. Framework
Convention on Climate Change, the Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing
State, the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea., Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Flora and Fauna, Global Program of Action to Protect the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities
and other relevant international programs. It has been developed as a succinct statement which should be read
and interpreted in light of these documents.

This Framework addresses the four elements of the ICRI Call to Action, which are:

- Management;
- Capacity building;
- Research and monitoring; and
- Review.

Framework Purpose

The purpose of this Framework for Action is to mobilize governments and the wide range of other stakeholders
whose coordinated, vigorous and effective actions are required to implement the Call to Action.

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Principles

The ICRI recognizes the following principles:

• Achieving the ICRI's purpose requires the full participation and commitment of governments, local communities,
donors, NGOs, the private sector, resource users and scientists; therefore true partnerships, cooperation and
collaboration exemplify the ICRI activities.

• The overriding priority is to support actions that will have tangible, positive and measurable effects on coral reefs
and related ecosystems and on the well-being of the communities which depend upon them.

• Human activities are the major cause reef degradation; therefore, managing coral reefs means managing those
human activities. Individuals whose decisions and actions affect coral reefs - from board rooms to beaches - need
to become aware of and committed to the conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs and related
ecosystems.

• The diversity of cultures, traditions and governance within nations and regions should be recognized and built
upon in all the ICRI activities.

• Integrated coastal management, with special emphasis on community participation and benefit, provides a
framework for effective coral reef and related ecosystem management.
• Developing national capacity to conserve and sustainable use coral reefs and related ecosystem requires a
long-term (decade) commitment. Improvement of coral reef management requires a permanent commitment and
an adaptive approach.

• Strategic research and monitoring programs should be an integral part of the ICRI because management of
coral reefs and related ecosystems should be based on the most relevant scientific information.

• Actions promoted under this framework should take account of, and fully use, the extensive body of international
agreements and organizations that address issues related to coral reefs and related ecosystems. The ICRI will
facilitate the leveraging and channeling of existing resources among all sectors for the benefit of coral reefs and
related ecosystems.

Actions

• All those committed to supporting the ICRI and this Framework for Action are called upon to take account of and
to act on the following at the international, regional and national levels.

• Support national and regional efforts to establish and coordinate strategies, priorities and programs to implement
the ICRI Framework for Action, starting with regional workshops to be held by early 1996.

• Ensure that sustainable management of coral reefs and related ecosystems is considered at future relevant
international meetings.

• Develop and/or strengthen national, regional and international mechanics for gathering and sharing information
and expertise on the sustainable management of coral reefs and related ecosystems.

• Promote improved access to financial and technological resources to enable institutions, regional centers and
networks to assist and inform governments, industries and communities.

• Addressing conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs and related ecosystems requires activities in the
following areas:

·Integrated coastal management;


·Public awareness, education and training;

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·Ratification of or accession to relevant international instruments;


·Stakeholder participation at all levels; training policymakers and private sector decision makers in the
development and implementation of coral reefs management;
·Marine science and technology;
.Environmental Law, particularly assessment regulations; and
·Assessing the potential for micro-enterprise development and facilitating access to financing on a small to
medium scale.

4.4.1 Management

• Encourage governments to develop and adopt integrated coastal management measures, including:

·Protection of the marine environment from land-based sources of marine pollution;


·Environmentally sound land-use practices, including zoning where appropriate;
·Measures to protect the marine environment from the adverse effect of maritime activities;
·National and regional disaster strategies;
·Measures to prevent illegal fishing practices, achieve sustainable fisheries and protect the ecological systems
that support them;
·Tourism management and planning;
·Cultural aspects of resources use; and
·Enforcement of regulations.

• Encourage governments and funding agencies to consider ICRI Framework in project and program design and
implementation.

• Encourage, where appropriate, an intersectoral systems approach to planning and management.

• Encourage improved coordination among international organizations, donors and NGOs to provide more
effective programs at the regional and national level.

• Encourage prompt implementation of the outcomes of FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the
Global Program of Action to Protect the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities.

• Promote awareness and action by the global tourist community to minimize individual and collective impacts of
tourism on coral reefs and related ecosystems.

• Promote the establishment and effective management of coastal and marine protected areas for coral reefs and
related ecosystems, within the framework of customary international law as exemplified by the U.N. Convention
on the Law of the Sea. This will contribute to the development of the Global Representative System of Marine
Protected Areas as proposed by the World Bank, IUCN and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

• Promote the regulation of international trade in endangered and threatened reef-associated species through the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), and improve its
implementation where required.

• Encourage governments to develop and promote mechanisms for regulating international trade in species that
are illegally harvested.

• Encourage governments to develop legislation, policy and institutional capacity to apply environmental
assessment to development activities.

• Promote appropriate technologies, including voluntary programs and economic incentives and best
management practices, for control of land-based causes of marine pollution.

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• Promote and replicate successes in integrated coastal management, including community-based management,
as appropriate.

• Support management measures to improve the socioeconomic condition of local communities through such
means as retraining and sustainable alternative livelihood development.

4.4.2 Capacity Building

• Capacity building includes establishing and strengthening human resource and international capabilities for
coastal management, science, training and education.

• Encourage regional organizations to assist countries and communities implementing ICRI, for example through
measures including:

·Preparation of project proposals; and


·Implementation of small grant programs.

• Establish, strengthen and sustain mutually supportive networks of centers of expertise in management of coral
reefs and related ecosystems.

• Base human resource development strategies on needs assessments and ensure that they address:

·The diversity of cultures traditions and governance structures;


·Increased community awareness and involvement;
·Improving the capacity of today's managers;
·Providing for the education of tomorrow's managers;
·Coverage of coral reef management issues in the training of all professional whose work involves decisions
which affect coral reefs and coastal resource management;
·Technical training needs for people at the field level;
·Training and supporting trainers to work at the community and field level;
·Evaluation of the effectiveness of training; and
·The need to target children in awareness raising.

• Improve coordination and targeting of the education and human resource development programs provided by
development partners.

• Support formal and informal environmental education programs for all levels of the community on the subject of
coral reefs and related ecosystems, with curricula and materials tailored to the interests and needs of the regions
and end users.

• Encourage maximum use of national and regional expertise in management, research and capacity-building
activities.

• Support the development, identification and dissemination of materials which address the interests and needs of
the regions, including;

·The value coral reefs and related ecosystems;


·Practical monitoring and management techniques;
·Inventories of formal and on-the-job training opportunities;
·Case studies of management, including success stories as well as examples which have not been successful;
and
·Case studies of human impact and natural variation in coral reefs and related ecosystems.

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• Increase the relevance to ICRI of existing donor scholarship programs by:

·Devoting a proportion of scholarship awards to environmental studies; and


·Encouraging thesis and dissertation studies carried out in home countries.

• Encourage the private sector's role in management of coral reefs and related ecosystems through:

·Use of appropriate technologies;


·Development of a trained and educated workforce; and
·Innovative approaches to better environmental operating standards.

4.4.3 Research & Monitoring

• Research and monitoring are needed to assess the status of coral reefs, evaluate the success of management
and conservation actions and develop more effective management practices. As tropical ecosystems, coral reefs
and related ecosystems are subject to dynamics which are generally less well-understood than temperate
systems. Therefore, without evidence it should not be assumed that they will react to natural and human
disturbances in the same way as temperate systems.

• Research and monitoring programs should address biological, physical, social, cultural and economic studies
and should be carried out over time periods appropriate to their objectives. They should be supported by
information management, interpretation and dissemination. In the collection of data for both research and
monitoring, resource users should be involved to the maximum extent practicable.

• Promote the involvement of managers in the development, conduct, interpretation and application of research
and monitoring programs.

• Promote and assist the development and application of resource assessment methods that:
·Allow for rapid assessment to establish baselines and initiate management; and
·Can be used in Geographic information and Decision Support systems.
• Promote the development of Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network Under the Coastal Zone Module of the
Global Ocean Observing System by incorporating and, as necessary, establishing or strengthening regional
nodes.

• Encourage studies of coral reef and related ecosystems which:

·Address priority management issues in individual countries or regions;


·Address the synergy between human effects and natural variations as causes of stress and degradation in coral
reefs and related ecosystems;
·Involve interdisciplinary research into human impacts with initial priority on fisheries and tourism;
·Integrate traditional knowledge;
·Quantify the socioeconomic impacts of conservation and habitat destruction,
·Address the scale and linkages of the biological communities; and
·Develop methods for impact mitigation and reef restoration.

• Develop programs to involve communities, resource users, the private sector and others in monitoring the
condition of coral reefs and related ecosystems.

• Encourage regional and international forums which bring together managers and scientists to identify priority
information requirements for management of coral reefs and related ecosystems.

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4.4.4 Review

• Review of the state of coral reefs and related ecosystems and of action taken to implement the ICRI Framework
for Action should be conducted at national, regional and international levels on a regular basis.

• The four-year cycle of the international coral reef symposia provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the
ecological condition of coral reefs. This should be matched by an equivalent program to review the effectiveness
of implementation of actions in accordance with the ICRI Framework for Action. At the international level, the U.N.
Commission on Sustainable Development provides an appropriate forum for review of international organizations
and agencies. The 1996 session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, with its focus on Chapter 17
(Protection of Oceans) of Agenda 21 will deal, inter alia, with coral reefs and related ecosystems.

• UNEP should be encouraged to review the implementation and success of the ICRI Framework for Action
through relevant programs including the Regional Seas programs.

• Similarly, the IOC through the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, should be encouraged to produce reports
on the ecological condition of coral reefs and related ecosystems for discussion at the quadrennial International
Coral Reef Symposia and other relevant international forums.

4.5 Global Activities for the Framework for Action

4.5.1.1 International

• Encourage regional and international fora to endorse the ICRI goals and objectives in the ICRI Call to Action.

• Provide improved access to financial and technological resources to enable organizations, institutions, and
regional centers to assist governments and communities in matters including:

·Waste management and the adoption of cleaner production technologies;


·Management of marine transport;
·Management of sustainable commercial and noncommercial fisheries; and
·Ratification and implementation of relevant international instruments.

• Improve coordination of U.N., international organizations and NGOs to provide more effective delivery of
programs.

• Encourage multilateral and bilateral donors to consider ICRI framework in project design.

• Identify coral reefs of regional and international importance in order that governments may designate them
under appropriate conventions.

• Promote the establishment of a globally representative system of marine protected areas for coral reefs,
mangroves and seagrasses, within the framework of existing international rights and obligations as exemplified by
the Law of the Sea Convention; for example, through the IUCN/World Bank efforts.

• Identify mechanisms for sustainable international trade in marine species and enhance the effectiveness of
national implementation of CITES regarding trade in coral species and products.

4.5.1.2 Regional

• Support regional ICRI workshop to enhance regional cooperation.

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• Strengthen regional organizations, in particular UNEP Regional Seas programs and activities, to strengthen
national and regional efforts to implement ICRI goals.

• Conduct biennial review of ICRI activities at national and regional levels.

• Improve donor coordination of ICZM technical assistance.

• Training of local personnel should be incorporated into management projects (national and regional levels).

• Identify funding opportunities for ICRI related activities.

• Recognizing national differences, develop common approaches for ICZM that may provide models for in
particular administrative and legislative arrangements.

• Support adoption of ICZM appropriate to small island states' circumstance with realistic time frames.

• Design and implement regional recovery plans for endangered and threatened species, in particular, migratory
species, such as turtles, that are dependent on coral and related ecosystems.

• Identify and develop methods at national and regional levels for combating illegal resources extraction in remote
shelf areas.

• Improve regional and international ICZM information exchange, for example on the effectiveness of
management measures.

• Support implementation of national environmental strategies.

• Seek better regional policy coordination on tropical marine ecosystems in international fora.

4.5.1.3 National

• Promote and implement ICZM as the organizing framework for a national priority to manage coral reefs and
related ecosystems and their associated watersheds.

• Develop statutory and policy support for applying environmental impact assessment for all development
activities.

• Improve the coordination of all governmental national-to-local ICZM, actors including the designation of a
national focal point for management of coral reef ecosystems (to coordinate at national and regional levels).

• Strengthen national agency ability to design coral reef conservation and sustainable use/ICZM projects that may
compete for funding at national, regional and international levels.

• Harmonize policies and legislation at national and regional levels on environmental impact assessment,
fisheries, pollution and marine protected areas.

• Implement management measures based on currently available information, adapting these measures as new
information from the scientific and management communities becomes available regarding the status of reefs and
the effectiveness of management measures.

• Promote adoption of appropriate technology for land-based activities of marine pollution, including through
voluntary programs and economic incentives to introduce appropriate technology.

• Promote the use of MPAs and zoning for multiple use purposes, at national and regional levels.

• Strengthen the governmental enforcement mechanisms through designation of clear institutional lead player.

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• Promote a framework for funding domestic marine protected areas - one that features primarily domestic funding
by NGOs, the private sector and communities, and possibly includes an appropriate role for international donors.

• Improve NGO, private sector, science community and government cooperation.

• Strengthen coral reef fisheries management.

• Expand number of pilot activities in community-based management.

• Recognize and build on traditional management skills and systems.

• Reduce pressures on coral reefs by developing alternative uses and income of coral reefs.

• Strengthen enforcement/compliance of environmental regulations.

• Promote designation of centers of excellence in ICZM and MPAs.

• Develop national response capabilities to respond to hazardous materials response events.

• Promote the awareness of the tourist industry to minimize tourism impacts.

• Support links between research and monitoring, management and capacity building at all levels.

• Promote public awareness at all three levels.

4.5.2 Capacity Building

4.5.2.1 International

• The need for building human and institutional capacity was identified in Agenda 21 of the U.N. Conference on
Environment and Development, as well as by the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), as established for
integrated coastal management (ICM) and sustainable development in developing countries.

• The group recognized that there has been significant effort in short-term training in some regions and that these
efforts must be recognized, built upon and better linked to long-term capacity building requires long-term
commitments. Capacity building is needed more urgently than ever as the need for coastal management
practitioners grows. Experience shows us that capacity-building efforts need to include both short-term intensive
training efforts for today's managers and long-term institutional strengthening programs so that tomorrow's coastal
managers can be better trained.

4.5.2.2 Regional

• Increase university capacity within a region to sustain training and education efforts. This will decrease the long-
term costs to train coastal management practitioners. Regional long-term institutional strengthening also
increases job opportunities, incorporates local cultural traditions within the training programs and reduces the
barriers of language.

• Utilize regional experts as trainers in international short-term training programs.

• Create regional centers of excellence to further refine ICM techniques and to increase human capacity.

• Develop and maintain a network of ICM mentors to supplement the short-term and long-term training that new
and experienced coastal managers participate in.

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• Assist with identifying mechanisms for sustainable funding and improve coordination with and between existing
programs and their funding to avoid duplication of efforts and to better use and leverage limited resources (funds,
technology, and equipment).

4.5.2.3 National

• Target capacity-building efforts to key target groups, including:

·Coastal managers who can coordinate ICM programs;


·Technical specialists to better participate in and contribute to ICM initiatives; and
·Local officials, private sector resources user groups who play important implantation roles.

• Assist with identifying mechanisms for sustainable funding and improve coordination with and between existing
programs and their funding to avoid duplication of efforts and to better use and leverage limited resources (funds,
technology, and equipment)

4.5.3 Research and Monitoring

The purpose of research and monitoring is to assess and provide regular updates on the condition of coral reefs
and related ecosystems, understand problems and processes, to evaluate the success of management and
conservation actions and to make the predictions essential for wise management decisions. Both research and
monitoring require the collection of data using tools from the natural and social sciences and must be carried out
as an integral part of management. It is only through this that management decisions can be made based on the
best available information.

4.5.3.1 Assessment

The top priority for work in many areas is the baseline assessment of coral reefs and related ecosystems. Many
coral reef areas remain unmapped and their communities poorly known. An assessment program must be
established to:

• Develop rapid assessment techniques to determine patterns and processes in coral reefs and associated
ecosystems;
• Apply inter-compatible assessment techniques nationally, regionally and internationally;

• Acquire baseline information on the status of coral reefs and related ecosystems, especially through
rapid assessment techniques for remote areas;

• Assess land-based sources of pollution across complete drainage basins;

• Identify and quantify various forms of local human impact; and

• Develop regionally applicable ecosystem inventories and GIS (habitat and resource mapping).

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4.5.3.2 Monitoring Programs

Many important events in coral reefs have gone undocumented or unexplained due to the lack of basic data to
identify causes and understand problems. Monitoring and problem-based research, when modeled using sound
theoretical principles, provide the basis for understanding and predicting ecological change- It is essential that a
coordinated monitoring program be established to:

• Develop and apply inter-compatible monitoring methodologies, to routinely determine the status, direction and
rate of change, and understand basic patterns and processes, making data widely available.

• Develop national, regional and global monitoring networks -- fostering development of new networks where
needed and supporting and/or expanding existing networks as appropriate (examples: expand CARICOMP to
wider Caribbean, develop Eastern Pacific monitoring and Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network) as contributions
to the Coastal Change module of the Global Ocean Observing System.

• Carry out monitoring through a question-based system to collect environmental, ecological, social, economic
and cultural data.

• Develop programs to ensure that communities, private sector, resource users and others participate in the
design, collection, interpretation and use of monitoring data, and provide training and technical assistance needed
to accomplish this.

• Monitor coral reefs, related ecosystems and their associated socioeconomic systems to detect change and
determine causality and responses (i.e., discriminate human effects from natural variation).

• Utilize training and technical assistance to enable local personnel to undertake monitoring.

• Assess and monitor the socioeconomic impacts of conservation and habitat destruction, and develop information
management systems to provide quality control and data accessibility.

4.5.3.3 Management-Oriented Research

While much will be learned through assessment and monitoring programs, basic problems exist that require
focused research to be resolved. Some of these are natural science problems pertaining to the ecosystems and
their function, while others are essential to our understanding of socioeconomic problems. Some of this work
includes:

• Research into interconnectedness among reefs and between reefs and related ecosystems, on varied spatial
and temporal scale;

• Research into proper size, shape and placement of MPAs in relation to their environmental setting (larval supply,
delivery patterns, optimal habitat spaces, SLOSS)

• Research on ecotoxicology to test effects of pollutants on marine organisms;

• Research into the development of sustainable resource uses;


• Research to address key conflicts between users, to provide scientific recommendations on plans/proposals;

• Policy research to enable community to protect the ecosystem;

• Research into reef management, including evaluation of management alternatives, conservation and sustainable
use options (fisheries management, marine protected areas site location and design, local tenure and use rights);

• Recognition of traditional/customary knowledge;

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• Economic valuation of resources;

• Research in local socioeconomic constraints and opportunities in community-based coastal zone


management/comanagement; and

• Research to identify causes of degradation of coral reefs.

4.6 Tropical Americas Activities for the Framework for Action

The Tropical Americas Working Group members, participating in of The International Coral Reef Initiative
Workshop in Dumaguete City, The Philippines, met to discuss the Framework for Action. In the brainstorming
session, a number of actions were suggested. For this report, these are presented below by topical area. These
actions were not prioritized by the group, however.

4.6.1 Management Option

• Ensure integration of the ICRI program of action with the proposal to develop a global representative system of
marine protected areas, as well as with other regional programs.

• Implementation activities should proceed within the broad context of integrated coastal management.

• Establishment of coordinating mechanisms among government agencies is important to facilitate coastal zone
management.

• Priority should be placed on development of sustainable financing mechanisms for coral reef management
programs.

• The ICRI should encourage development of strategies, policies, plans, and legislation relating to integrated
coastal management (ICM).

• Attention should be placed on supporting appropriate harmonization of policies and legislation relating to coral
reef management.

• Increased cooperation between governments and NGOs should be encouraged within countries.

• Reef management needs to be identified as a priority within government policy.

• Effective management of coral reefs may require consolidation or development of legislation and strengthened
enforcement of regulation pertaining to environmental impact assessment, pollution, fisheries, etc.

• While recognizing national differences, ICRI should seek to promote common approaches to ICM.

• The ICRI should assist with identification of appropriate funding sources to facilitate implementation of coral reef
management programs.

• The ICRI should develop model administrative/legal frameworks for national ICM implementations.

• The ICRI should promote formulation and implementation of programs to mitigate the degradation of coral reefs
and other ICM problems.

• The ICRI should encourage development of joint papers for presentation in international fora.

• Design of ICM programs should include a full analysis of economic costs and benefits.

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• The ICRI should encourage establishment and sustainable management of system of marine protected areas,
using local resources and cost-recovery strategies.

• Pilot programs in community-based management should be promoted.

• The adoption of appropriate technologies to reduce land-based sources of marine pollution should be promoted.

• Identify and develop methods for combating illegal resource extraction in remote coastal and shelf areas (e.g.,
trawling off the Miskito Coast).

• Where feasible, apply the comanagement approach to integrated coastal management.

• Countries should be encouraged to ratify/accede to international conventions and relevant to coral reef
management.

• Coral reefs of regional and global importance should be identified and designated as such under appropriate
conventions (e.g., World Heritage).

• Multilateral and bilateral donor agencies should be encouraged to take ICRI outcomes and recommendations
into account in their deliberations on program development.

4.6.2 Capacity Building Options

• The ICRI should promote development of environmental education programs, both for increasing general public
awareness and for inclusion in primary and secondary education programs.
• The ICRI should seek to identify and make available appropriate literature on coral reefs and associated
ecosystems.

• Needs assessments and audits of existing capacity should be conducted to provide the basis for development
for human resource development and institution strengthening programs.

• The ICRI should encourage efforts to develop tools and techniques for effective ICM and to train people to use
them.

• The ICRI environmental education programs should be based on assessment of existing levels of public
awareness and designed accordingly.

• The ICRI should encourage establishment of linkages and networking of databases and other information
systems.

• The ICRI should support development and conduct of short seminars for high officials in the public and private
sectors.

• Policy briefs should be developed to educate policymakers on the ICRI.


• National seminars on ICM and ICRI should be held.

• The ICRI should encourage assessment of training needs for ICM within each country.
• The ICRI should identify and develop regional centers of excellence for ICM, and encourage these centers to
strengthen their capacities to train trainers in ICM.

• The ICRI should promote development of school curricula covering ICM.

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4.6.3 Research and Monitoring

• The ICRI should seek to ensure that coral reef management strategies are based on the best scientific data
available.

• The ICRI should support development of marine habitat mapping and classification programs.

• The ICRI should encourage development of national monitoring programs, using to the maximum extent
possible private sector, local communities, and other developing country institutions in this effort.

• Economic and social evaluations of reef use and resources should be conducted.

• Research on design of marine protected areas in relation to larval dispersion, population, dynamics, migration
processes, and other biological, physical, and social processes should be encouraged.

• Research on local socioeconomic constraints and opportunities for community-based ICM should be promoted.

• The ICRI should encourage development of rapid assessment techniques to evaluate reef condition and then
promote wide adoption of these techniques to increase data comparability and trend analysis.

• A reef monitoring program should be established in the Eastern Pacific.

• Assessment of land-based sources of marine pollution should be given greater attention.

• Reef monitoring at the regional level should be supported in the Caribbean.

4.7 Tropical Americas Agenda for Action

The ICRI Framework and the Tropical Americas' Agenda for Action are intended to mobilize governments and the
wide range of other stakeholders whose coordinated, vigorous and effective actions are required to sustain these
fragile resources, and the communities who depend on them. The international Framework focuses on how the
international community can support regional, national and local activities.

The 'Tropical Americas' Agenda for Action consists of an evolving regional process outlining "initial next steps"
mostly national actions, to provide an early basis for enhanced regional collaboration.

4.7.1 Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Related Institutional, Policy, and Legal
Issues

Problems:
1. Weak commitment to ICZM in the Tropical Americas due to its low priority in national agendas and lack of
funding by governments.

2. National ICZM plans and strategies are not developed through intersectoral, interagency, interdisciplinary and
public consultation, resulting in fragmented and overlapping ICZM policies and legislation.
3. Inadequate regional and international coordination resulting in fragmentation and duplication of efforts.

4. Lack of understanding of national obligations, responsibilities, and implications of international conventions,


treaties and agreements.

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Goal:
To develop a sustainable ICZM through a coordinated and action oriented institutional, policy, and legal
framework which emphasizes equity, empowerment, and transparency.

Objectives:
1. To improve coordination of ICZM efforts at national, regional and international levels;

2. To initiate broad based participation (public and private sectors, NGOs, resource users) in the formulation,
implementation, and evaluation of coastal zone programs and projects; and

3. To coordinate donor activities and commitments in ICZM in the tropical Americas.

Activities:
1. Conduct an audit of agencies and institutions; including all existing ICZM related policies and legislation, at the
national and regional levels.

2. Based on the audit proposed, develop appropriate policies and legislation (at the national and, where
appropriate, at the regional level) for addressing the identified overlaps and gaps.

3. Conduct training based on an assessment for ICZM training needs building on such existing assessments as
those of CIDA, OECS, and CCUNRM.

4. Develop intersectoral and interdisciplinary curricula for coastal zone management building on existing efforts at
a tertiary level.

5. Develop and implement appropriate mechanisms for intersectoral, inter-agency coordination, and the public
including the following:

Review experiences of UNDP's capacity 21 council for sustainable Development and replicate, if appropriate.

Develop policy guidelines and necessary frame legislation for setting up intersectoral and interagency
committees/council for coastal management.

Establish intersectoral and interagency committees/councils for coastal zone management at the national level.
These communities should ideally be set up in Central Planning Units.

6. Develop policy guidelines for use of economic instruments and incentives for broad based participation in ICZM
programs.

7. Develop policies and guidelines for funding mechanism, including cost recovery, for ICZM programs.

8. Provide assistance to governments for ratification and implementation of obligations in International treaties
related to ICZM. e.g. Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW).

4.7.2 Environmental Education and Awareness

Problem:
Poor understanding of the value of coastal and marine resources and the impact of human activities on these
resources has resulted in environmental degradation throughout the Tropical Americas.

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Goal:
To achieve sustainable management and conservation of coastal and marine resources through targeted
education and environmental awareness.

Objectives:
1. To change attitudes and behavioral patterns in relation to the coastal environment, in particular coral reefs and
their associated ecosystems.

2. To identify the relevant target groups to be addressed and involve them in the educational process.

Activities:
1. Conduct diagnostic studies of public awareness activities to determine those methods which have resulted in
behavioral change such as policy and institutional changes, conservation by resource users, pollution
control/mitigation by industry sector, etc.

2. Develop hands-on and activity-based teaching materials on marine and coastal resources for inclusion in
primary and secondary school curricula and ensure their effective application.

3. Develop a targeted and strategic educational program to enhance media effectiveness in communicating
coastal issues to the general public.

4. Prepare educational materials relating to coral reefs and associated ecosystems targeting the general public.

5. Provide the public with the necessary tools and technologies to affect public policy and industrial practices
which may be detrimental to the environment.

6. Develop educational packages for key economic and political sectors to demonstrate the economic benefits of
selected coastal resources conservation measures, as well as cost effective management practices and
technologies to minimize land-based sources of marine pollution.

4.7.3 Co-Management of Coastal Resources

Problem:
Traditional public sector approaches to resource management, in general, and coastal zone management in
particular, have no proven to be effective in the Tropical Americas,

Goal:
To achieve sustainable development of CZM through a partnership of public and private sectors, resource users,
local communities, NGO's, the scientific community, and donor agencies.

Objectives:
1. To develop a dynamic, on-going process of co-management, involving the empowerment of the resource
users.

2. To build on and refine existing guidelines and procedures for facilitating co-management of natural resources.

3. To disseminate information to all the stakeholders in the co-management partnership in a relevant and
appropriate manner.

Activities:
1. Review and analyze on-going initiatives in co-management in order to document and share experiences and
technical data in co-management.

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2. Develop and implement procedures for facilitating co-management of natural resources, including:

To facilitate the formation of stakeholder groups by informing the stakeholder of the value of co-management and
how to implement it.

To provide the scientific data (biological, economic, social, and cultural) necessary to guide the negotiation
process, implementation, and review of resource management plans.
To prepare a resource management plan, including appropriate legislation, that identifies and/or develops
economic alternatives for resource exploitation;

3. Develop the resources necessary to effectively implement a co-management plan, including the necessary
documents and manuals for advertising and training stakeholders, government official, international and local
funding agencies, etc.;

4. Form a pool of regional expertise in co-management available to aid the establishment of coastal zone co-
management (e.g. by providing training).

4.7.4 Coral Reef Fisheries Management

Problem:
The status and trends in the reef fisheries in the Tropical Americas are cause for concern. Most coral reef
fisheries are either fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted. Improved conservation and management is needed
to ensure rehabilitation of depleted stocks, optimum sustainable utilization of fisheries resources and preservation
of habitat and biological diversity of the reef ecosystem.

Goals:
1. To improve management of coral reef and related ecosystems.

2. To improve fisheries management to optimize resource use and ensure healthy coral reef ecosystems.

3. To improve public awareness on coral reef fisheries.

Objectives:
1. To solicit active participation by stakeholders in developing and implementing measures to rehabilitate and
ensure sustainable use of the resource.

2. To coordinate fisheries management among the national agencies, private sector, community interest groups
and the resource users who have an interest in the coastal zone.

3. To manage fishing efforts through ecologically and environmentally sound fishing methods that ensure
continued socioeconomic benefits to the resource users.

4. To expand and improve applied research as well as statistical reporting on fishing stocks, catches, and
investment trends.

5. To reinforce existing national and regional mechanisms, organizations for research and management, and
dissemination of scientific information among countries utilizing common resources.

Activities:
1. Develop programs aimed at improving public education and awareness of policy makers, fishermen, farmers,
school children, developers, tourism interest and other groups whose activities impact on coastal and marine
resources.

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2. Establish a campaign to inform the public of the crisis facing the coral reef systems generally and the fisheries
in particular and solicit active participation in fisheries management strategies.
3. Establish a central coordination mechanism at the national level to ensure participation of the various interest
groups in the planning and implementation of fisheries management measures as well as ensure that these
measures are integrated in the wider national plan for management of the coastal zone.

4. Create and maintain a national register of number of vessels active in the fishery, including information on
vessel capacity, power, gear, operating range, and area of operation.

5. Strengthen existing management legislation and enforcement mechanisms.

6. Promote use of fisheries practices that protect the habitat.

7. Monitor catch rates and species composition of coral reef fisheries.

8. Conduct research on reef fisheries including, biology/ecology, population dynamics, and the recruitment of
exploited species in coral reef fisheries.

4.7.5 Marine Protected Areas

Problem:
Coastal marine systems are under threat from intense and unsustainable human activities resulting in the
potential loss of unique ecosystems. This is jeopardizing long term biological and economic viability and other
benefits to the resource users. Ensuring that these coastal resources remain in a healthy and viable condition
requires effective management.

Goal:
To achieve the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources through the establishment and
management of coastal and marine protected areas consistent with international law.

Objectives:
1. To strengthen management capabilities in marine and coastal protected areas programs and transform "paper"
parks into real parks.

2. To have selected areas designated and legally declared as marine protected areas with appropriate
management strategies, and upgrade the level of technical expertise of coastal and marine resources
management personnel.

Activities:
1. Fund existing Marine Parks and Protected Areas (MPAs) initiatives in the region and to ensure their long-term
financial sustainability.

2. Develop local capacities for strategic design, planning, and management of MPAs.

3. Monitor key critical parameters for adaptive management including biological, physical, chemical, social,
economic, and cultural parameters.

4. Enhance human resource development in science, administration, education and enforcement through
technical assistance and training.

5. Provide infrastructural support for research, administration, resource management and environmental
education and awareness.

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6. Review and update legislation that will support integrated coastal resource management.

7. Encourage governments to sign and ratify relevant international treaties and conventions.

8. Promote the incorporation of the impacting lands into the management of the marine protected area.

4.7.6 Land-Based Sources of Pollution

Problem:
Land-based point and non-point pollutants, in particular nutrients and sediment loads, constitute a major
contribution to the degradation of coral reefs in the Tropical Americas.

Goal:
To reduce through the ICZM process the land-based (point and non-point) sources of pollution reaching the
coastal and marine environment of the region.

Objectives:
1. To achieve effective integrated management of the entire watershed and coastal zone.

2. To establish the most appropriate and economically feasible treatment facilities and management practices, in
particular for sewage, sediment, and nutrients.

Activities:
1. Provide financial and technical assistance to implement effective existing technologies and management
practices for the collection and treatment of sewage. In this context, the best affordable technologies should also
be considered if the very best technologies, such as tertiary treatment, are unaffordable.

2. Implement with urgency erosion control practices such as re-vegetation, road paving, sediment screening and
soil conserving agricultural practices, in light of the fact that sediments are a major threat to coral reefs.

3. Adopt and implement relevant water quality standards and monitor water quality.

4. Identify and monitor via appropriate bio-indicators.

5. Promote sound application of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as integrated pest management.

6. Complete negotiation of a protocol on land-based sources of marine pollution to the Cartagena convention.

7. Implement pollution prevention strategies to reduce solid waste and industrial pollutants.

8. Implement strategies for prevention and management of oil spills.

4.7.7 Research and Monitoring for the Management of Coral Reef and Coastal Resources

Problem:
Ability to manage coastal resources in the Tropical Americas is hampered by:
- limited local sociological, economical, and ecological understanding;
- poor knowledge of fundamental aspects of coral reef biology/ecology and sociology/natural resource economics;
incomplete use of available knowledge due to poor dissemination and lack of information, and, - data-sharing
networks; and perceived low value of research and monitoring by funding agencies, policy-makers, and the public
at large.

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Goal:
To utilize research and monitoring to facilitate better management of coastal and marine resources.

Objectives:
To improve understanding of coastal resources: the natural ecosystem, the interaction of human activities with it,
and each other.

To improve coordination and information sharing between natural and social sciences and within science
disciplines.

To provide information and data to help develop useful guidelines and options for resource managers and
decision-makers.

Activities:
1. Conduct basic inventories of coral reefs and associated ecosystems as a prerequisite for the design of
monitoring programs and for planning resource use.

2. Engage the collaboration of resource users, scientists, and managers, as appropriate and feasible, in
monitoring coral reef resources.

3. Establish well balanced advisory boards for monitoring and management.

4. Ensure that research and monitoring results, and their implications, are made known to the public.

5. Increase support for research institutions throughout the region and for communication networks that facilitate
monitoring, research, and management initiatives.

6. Continue interdisciplinary research on natural variation in the system, on human impacts, and on synergies
between them.

7. Conduct research in the natural and social science disciplines, including research on economic valuation and
cost-benefit analysis.

8. Continue interdisciplinary research, development, and demonstration on the mitigation of human impacts, for
example:
- low-cost tertiary treatment of sewage,
- watershed management and control of sedimentation,
- fishery improvements by gear chances, by marine protected areas, by social organization alternative livelihoods
for fishers, and,
- sustainable levels (carrying capacities) of coral reef resource use.

4.7.8 Financing for the Management of Coral Reef and Coastal Resources

Problem:
Management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems is hampered by lack of adequate financial resources and
difficulties in accessing them. There are inadequate national and regional capabilities to develop and implement
financial strategies for ICZM and its related components.?

Goal:
To improve regional and national capacity to generate and access funds for managing coastal resources on a
sustainable basis.

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Objectives:
1. To facilitate cooperation among governments, NGOs, and the private sector in order to improve access to and
generate funds for coastal management initiatives.

2. To develop capabilities in public and private environmental management organizations to achieve financial
sustainability.

Activities:
1. Improve coordination among governments, NGOs, regional entities, and other relevant organizations to identify
and access funds.

2. Strengthen institutions for regional and sub-regional NGOs to enable them to effectively participate in regional
strategies to expand the availability of financial resources.

3. Identify economic benefits and values of coral reef resources in order to demonstrate a case for financial
support from public and private sources.

4. Improve financial accountability of environmental management agencies and organizations.

5. Provide training and technical assistance to environmental management agencies and organizations in the
design and implementation of fund-raising programs.

6. Encourage the creation of dedicated environmental funds for research, management, and capacity building.

7. Facilitate development of revenue generating opportunities from marine protected areas services such as
entrance and user fees, concessions, contributions, etc.

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5. Recommendations for a National Program for the Conservation and


Sustainable use of Mexican Coral Reefs
This chapter provides recommendations for the consideration of policy makers and managers to improve
management and sustainable use of coral reefs and coral communities. These recommendations are based on
the information presented in the previous chapters.

The objective of this document is to provide a base document for discussion within the National Committee for
Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mexican Reefs, that will facilitate the design and adoption of a National
Program for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mexican Coral Reefs, compatible with the International
Coral Reef Initiative.

The structure given to the Recommendations for a National Program for Conservation and Sustainable Use of
Mexican Coral Reefs, utilizes various elements from the International Coral Reef Initiative.

The basic structure reflects the three main thematic lines described in the ICRI call for Action (Coastal
Management, Capacity Building, Research and Monitoring). Afterwards these thematic lines are subdivided into
the specific themes indicated within the Tropical Americas Agenda for Action. Further along the line actions and
activities to implement each specific theme are developed. Two themes not covered by the Tropical Americas
Agenda for Action were added; tourism and law enforcement. The protected area theme was expanded to include
a hierarchical system for protecting coral reefs and communities that includes other environmental policy tools
and environmental education and awareness was separated into two distinct themes.

It should be noted, that in order to comprehend more easily the relation of each thematic line to the structure of
the Recommendations for a National Program, within each thematic line the objectives and strategy are also
included, thus appearing twice throughout the document. Also within each specific themes the list of actions are
compiled, thus also duplicated.

The following list indicates as a reference, the structure given to the National Program:

Goal
General Objectives * ICRI Call for Action
A) Coastal Management
B) Capacity Building
C) Research and Monitoring
Strategies @ a for A, b for B and c for C

Call for Action Chapter A) - ICRI Call for Action


Thematic Objectives A) * (From above, repeated below)
Strategy @ a (From above)
Actions 1,2,3, etc. # Related to each Thematic Objective
grouped for each Specific Theme

Specific Theme - Trop. Americas Agenda for Action


Problems - Trop. Americas Agenda for Action
Specific Goal - Trop. Americas Agenda for Action
Specific Objective * (Repeated from above)
General Considerations (Only when required)

# Action 1 # Action 2 # Action 3 # Action 4 # Etc.


Activities Activities for 2 and 3 Activities
for 1. when they would become for 4
repetitive if separate.

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5. National Program for the Conservation and Sustainable use of Mexican Coral Reefs

5.1 Goal and General Objectives

The goal of the National Program for the Conservation and Sustainable use of Coral Reefs - Mexico is to strive for
optimal use of some of our most important and diverse marine habitats, so they can continue to be used on a
sustainable basis to support multiple uses including ,fisheries, tourism, conservation, education and research.

To achieve this purpose, the national strategy has the following general objectives:

Coastal Management

- Define and coordinate the actions required from all involved actors to achieve the implementation of the national
strategy utilizing Integrated Coastal Zone Management practices.

- Manage coral reefs according to their different ecological values and economical potential in order to maintain a
balance of uses, within the context of Mexico's transition to sustainable development and protect coral reefs that
are of outstanding value to the national heritage.

- Reduce the impacts from fisheries, tourism and pollution that promote the degradation of coral reefs and
communities to maintain their uses and benefits to society.

- Build and strengthen the national capacity to effectively enforce the legislative bases to protect coral reefs and
communities.

Capacity Building

- Build and strengthen the national commitment and capability both within and outside the government to
implement coral reef management actions, through the development of a dynamic, on-going process of co-
management, involving the empowerment of the resource users.

- Create and fortify social awareness of the value of coral reefs and communities to provide for wide based
support for their conservation, through a change of attitudes and behavioral patterns.

- Build and strengthen sustainable financing mechanisms that will permit the implementation of the Program.

Research and Monitoring

- Obtain the scientific bases that will permit the effective conservation and sustainable management of reef
resources and associated environments.

- Define protocols and prioritize sites for monitoring the effects of natural and human impacts and their synergies
on coral reefs and communities.

- Establish a framework for interinstitutional and interdisciplinary collaboration to achieve the goal of the National
Program.

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5.2 Strategies

In order to achieve the above mentioned objectives and utilizing the framework of the International Coral Reef
Initiative, three main strategies will need to be implemented and their effectiveness periodically reviewed:

- Establishment of integrated coastal management practices through planning, consultation and action
implementation in order to promote sustainable use and conservation of coral reefs and associated environments,
utilizing existing laws, regulations and environmental policy tools and creating new ones as needed.

- Build and maintain strong social support for reef conservation through the establishment of co-management
practices, networks for stakeholder communication, education, public education and the promotion of sustainable
financing and technical support mechanisms.

- Obtain the scientific knowledge needed to manage coral reefs through the support of research and monitoring
programs and by establishing networks for coordination and cooperation among research institutions and the
other actors involved.

5.3 Coastal Management and Related Institutional Policy and Legal Issues

Coastal Management Objectives:

- Define and coordinate the actions required from all involved actors to achieve the implementation of the national
strategy utilizing Integrated Coastal Zone Management practices.

- Manage coral reefs according to their different ecological values and economical potential in order to maintain a
balance of uses, within the context of Mexico's transition to sustainable development and protect coral reefs that
are of outstanding value to the national heritage.

- Reduce the impacts from fisheries, tourism and pollution that promote the degradation of coral reefs and
communities to maintain their uses and benefits to society.

- Build and strengthen the national capacity to effectively enforce the legislative bases to protect coral reefs and
communities.

Coastal Management Strategy:

Establish integrated coastal management practices through planning, consultation and action implementation in
order to promote sustainable use and conservation of coral reefs and associated environments, utilizing existing
laws, regulations and environmental policy tools and creating new ones as needed.

Coastal Management Actions:

- Integrated Coastal Management Planning and Implementation

CM-1) Develop the national capacity to establish ICZM practices through the creation of an experimental
Integrated Coastal Zone Management Authority for the Mexican Caribbean Coast.

CM-2) Consolidate existing structures that include intersectorial, interagency and public participation.

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- Management of Coral Reef and Communities

CM-3) Categorize coral reefs according to each site's ecological status, uses and potential and utilize existing
environmental policy tools to balance the intensity and variety of uses.

CM-4) Establish the basic tier for the protection of coral reefs and communities through the implementation of an
Official Mexican Norm.

CM-5) Protect specific coral reefs and communities through their inclusion in Environmental Zoning Programs
and/or prevent their degradation from land based activities through the implementation of such programs in
adjacent land areas.

CM-6) Protect coral reefs and communities that are of outstanding value to the national heritage, through their
inclusion in the National System of Protected Areas.

- Managing Coral Reef Fisheries

CM-7) Promote sustainable coral reef fisheries practices, balancing potential output to capture effort.

CM-8) Utilize fisheries concessions, permits and authorizations as an important tool for promoting sustainable
reef fisheries through site related social and individual appropriation.

CM-9) Strengthen existing fisheries management legislation for its use in coral reefs and communities.

CM-10) Establish "no take zones" to protect breeding stock, generate increased catches in surrounding areas and
enhance the touristic value of coral reefs and communities.

- Managing Threats and Opportunities from Tourism

CM-11) Promote sustainable tourism based on the use of coral reefs and communities and generate funds
towards their conservation by the development of this activity.

CM-12) Strengthen existing tourism legislation for its use in coral reefs and communities.

- Managing Threats from Pollution

CM-13) Reduce the threats to coral reefs and communities from pollution, especially from land-based activities.

CM-14) Strengthen existing water pollution legislation for its use in coastal and marine habitats.

- Enforcement of Environmental Legislation

CM-15) Utilize environmental impact statements and mandatory environmental audits to reduce the threats to
coral reefs and communities from fisheries, tourism and pollution.

CM-16) Consolidate enforcement activities, utilizing the financial potential existing from the use of coral reefs.

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5.3.1 Integrated Coastal Management Planning and Implementation

Problems:

- Weak commitment to ICZM due to the low priority in the national agenda, lack of wide ranging working models
and specific funding.

- Lack of plans and strategies that are developed through intersectorial, interagency, interdisciplinary and public
consultations, thus resulting in fragmented and overlapping policies and legislation for the coastal zone.

Specific Goal:

To develop the bases for implementing sustainable ICZM practices in Mexico, through a coordinated and action
oriented institutional, policy and legal framework which emphasizes equity, empowerment and transparency.

Specific Objective:

Define and coordinate the actions required from all involved actors to achieve the implementation of the national
strategy utilizing Integrated Coastal Zone Management practices, in order to reduce the impacts that promote the
degradation of coral reefs to maintain their uses and benefits to society.

General Considerations

Integrated multi-sectoral natural resource planning and management is presently becoming the most appropriate
way to address the challenge of biodiversity conservation. Yet achieving this need for the coast is more difficult
than for most geo-economic zones. Coastal areas and coastal resources systems are not only biologically
complex, but are also governmentally complex because of unclear jurisdiction, dispersal of authority and the
amount of common property resources involved.

An approach to integrated multi-sectorial resource planning and management for coastal resources has been
widely discussed over the last two decades, resulting in the terms Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM),
Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM) or Integrated Marine and Coastal Area Management (IMCAM), all
referring generally to the same set of strategies and methodologies used in coastal environments, that incorporate
management of natural resources, conservation of biodiversity, maximization of socioeconomic benefits and
protection of life and property from natural hazards, within a participatory environment that includes all
stakeholders and fits the institutional and organizational environment of the regions involved, including political
and administrative structures, economic conditions, cultural patterns and social traditions.

Action CM-1:

- Develop the national capacity to establish ICZM practices through the creation of an experimental
Integrated Coastal Zone Management Authority for the Mexican Caribbean Coast.

Coral reefs can't be isolated and can't be protected if the complete arrays of sociobiological coastal processes are
not taken into consideration. Within this framework, corals could constitute the "flagship or umbrella species" or
"charismatic microfauna" that would allow for the adoption of Integrated Coastal Zone Management practices in
Mexico that will permit not only their conservation and sustainable use, but that of other coastal ecosystems and
species as well.

Although the National Environmental Plan 1995-2000 includes environmental protection of coastal zones as a
strategy and priority action, no integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) strategy has been explicitly proposed
for Mexico.

In order to advance towards the implementation of an ICZM strategy for Mexico and due to the complexity of
implementing such a strategy at once in a country that includes over 11,000 kilometers of coastline, we propose

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to experiment with the development of an "Integrated Coastal Zone Management Authority" with jurisdiction over
a small portion of the coast, as the first step that would help with the further definition of a wider ranging strategy.

In this respect, it is proposed that such authority be initially established with the participation of governmental
agencies and stakeholders, for the Mexican Caribbean due to the following characteristics:

- It comprises only a limited section of coastline, 335 km. of linear length.


- It contains a globally significant ecosystem, with extensive coral reef, mangrove and sea grass communities.
- The most important economic activities in the area; tourism and fisheries are coastal based.
- The Mesoamerican Reef Initiative offers the framework to experiment with international cooperation of ICZM.
- The presence of only one state, Quintana Roo on the Caribbean facilitates federal - state coordination. Only
six municipalities would need to be involved.
- Some examples of integrated coastal zone management that include governmental agencies and stakeholders
have been developed in the area, such as the Subcommittee for Protection of the Nichupte Lagoon System, the
participatory advisory groups set up for the federal protected areas within the state and the Xcalak Community
Coastal Resource Management Project. An ICZM strategy has been implemented for the adjacent coast of
Belize, generating experiences that Mexico could draw upon.

The proposed authority could be built by the initiative of SEMARNAP through the National Committee for the
Protection and Sustainable use of Mexican Reefs, and based upon the experience gained, a national ICZM
strategy could be later developed.

One drawback might be the limited potential for dealing with upper watershed management issues in this area,
due to the karstic underground drainage system of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Action CM-2:

- Consolidate existing structures that include intersectorial, interagency and public participation.

While action 1 implies the creation of a new entity, action 2 addresses the consolidation of existing structures that
already have an ICZM approach and include intersectoral, interagency and public participation including the
public and private sectors, NGOs and resource users in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of coastal
zone programs and projects. Some of these structures include the Technical Advisory Committees and Planning
Committees of protected areas, the National Committee for the Protection and The proposed authority could be
built by the initiative of SEMARNAP through the National Committee for the Sustainable use of Mexican Reefs,
State Environmental Commissions, the Subcommission for Environmental Zoning for Quintana Roo, the
Subcommittee for Protection of the Nichupte Lagoon System and many others.

New ICZM structures could by established based on existing legislation included within the National Waters Law,
such as the Watershed Councils (Consejos de Cuenca) and National Waters Reserves (Reservas de Aguas
Nacionales).

Activities for actions CM-1 and CM-2:

- Conduct an audit of agencies, institutions and stakeholders, including all ICZM related bodies, policies and
legislation at the national and state levels.

- Based on the audit, develop appropriate policies and legislation for addressing identified overlaps and gaps.

- Asses ICZM training needs and conduct such training.

- Develop and implement appropriate mechanisms for intersectoral, interagency coordination and with
stakeholders and the public, including policy guidelines and necessary legislative framework.

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- Develop policy guidelines for use of economic instruments and incentives for broad based participation on ICZM
programs.

- Develop policies and guidelines for funding mechanisms, including cost recovery for ICZM programs.

5.3.2 Management of Coral Reef and Communities

Problem:

Coastal and Marine systems are under threat from intense and unsustainable human activities resulting in the
potential loss of unique ecosystems. This is jeopardizing their long term biological and economic viability and
other benefits to resource users. Insuring that these coastal resources remain in a healthy and viable condition
requires effective management.

Specific Goal:

Achieve the sustainable management of coral reefs and communities through the establishment of a hierarchical
system for their management.

Specific Objective:

Manage coral reefs according to their different ecological values and economical potential in order to maintain a
balance of uses, within the context of Mexico's transition to sustainable development and protect coral reefs that
are of outstanding value to the national heritage.

Action CM-3:

- Categorize coral reefs for according to each site's ecological status, uses and potential and utilize
existing environmental policy tools to balance the intensity and variety of uses.

While a National Integrated Coastal Zone Management strategy does not currently exist, most of the
environmental policy tools that could support such a strategy already exist in Mexican Law. The use of such tools
for coral reef protection would facilitate future development of such a strategy.

Underlying the National Program for the Conservation and Sustainable use of Mexican Coral Reefs is the
recognition that coral reefs, like other habitats, must be managed according to the specific conditions - the
ecological status, uses and development potential - that exist at each site. For this reason, the policies and
measures of the Program are organized around a classification system based on the environmental policy tools
that will be used for each coral reef site's protection.

All major coral reef or communities present in Mexico should be assigned to one of the following three categories:

- Coral Reefs protected only through an Official Mexican Norm.


This category includes scattered and small coral reefs and communities that are in poor to fair conditions or are
poorly formed due to natural oceanographic conditions and do not have unique biological characteristics that
require the implementation of additional protection measures. These reefs are of limited significance to local
economic activities and their potential for tourism development is low or unconfirmed.

- Reefs included within or adjacent to areas covered by Environmental Zoning Programs (POE).
This category includes coral reefs or communities in good to fair condition. These reefs are used for artisan
fisheries and small scale tourism. These reefs need specific guidelines for their management that could be
provided through marine environmental zoning programs and supported by terrestrial ones that protect them from
land based activities.

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- Coral Reefs included within the National System of Protected Areas.


This category includes coral reefs or communities of outstanding ecological value, of scientific interest and of high
potential for tourism. Generally in good and very good conditions, these sites are not without problems and
threats, and these should best be approached by declaring them protected areas. Depending on their location
these sites would benefit from the establishment of terrestrial or marine environmental zoning programs in
adjacent areas.

Activities:

- Refine the proposed scheme of classification of coral reefs and communities proposed in Actions CM-4, CM-5
and CM-6, within the National Committee for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mexican Reefs.

Action CM-4:

- Establish a basic tier for protection of coral reefs and communities through the implementation of an
Official Mexican Norm.

The primary and most basic tool for protection of coral reefs and communities in Mexico, should be implemented
in the form of an Official Mexican Norm. The proposed "Reef Use Norm" would establish the basic regulations for
sustainable use of these habitats. The Norm should include regulations on tourism, fisheries and navigation
related uses.
This Norm would be applicable to all known or unknown coral reefs and communities existing in Mexico and
would provide the basic regulations for their use until further regulatory refinement is achieved through
"environmental criteria" (criterios ecológicos) contained within POEs, or through specific guidelines established by
a protected area management plan.

Activities:

- Draft and public review process of the Reef Use Official Mexican Norm.

- Establisht and implement Reef Use Official Mexican Norm.

Action CM-5:

- Protect specific coral reefs and communities through their inclusion in Environmental Zoning Programs
and/or prevent their degradation from land based activities through the implementation of such programs
in adjacent land areas.

The Environmental Zoning Program (POE) is the instrument of Mexican environmental policy that allows for the
establishment of land and waters use regulations. The use of POEs could also lead to the development of ICZM
practices, if intergovernmental and nongovernmental cooperating bodies (commissions, committees etc.) to look
after their implementation are established. In such case, the basis for the implementation of a national ICZM
strategy could be furthered. These cooperating bodies could be built upon the experience gained by the
Subcommittee for the Protection of the Nichupte Lagoon System in Cancun, Quintana Roo, which oversees the
implementation of the POE for the Lagoon System, or any other existing coordinating entity that includes all the
coastal actors.

It is obvious that the use of the newly established marine POEs will be an important experiment for its applicability
and effectiveness. Nevertheless, terrestrial OETs at the national, regional and local level should complement
marine OETs by including provisions to protect coral reef communities from land based activities and the

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protection of coastal ecosystems such as wetlands and others, which have an important interrelation with the
coral reefs.

Activities:

- Gulf of California

Completion, publication and enforcement of the marine POE for the Gulf of California. Further research is needed
in order to identify and cover all existing coral communities along the coastline in order to establish specific
"environmental management units" (unidades de gestion ambiental) and "environmental criteria" in order for the
POE to become an effective instrument for coral conservation in this area.

Completion, publication and enforcement of the regional and local POEs for areas adjacent to coral communities
that include: Bahía de la Paz, B.C.S., State of Sonora, Son., Northcentral and Southcentral Coast of Sinaloa, Sin..
These should address impacts from land based activities.

- Pacific Ocean

Enforcement of the local POE for Bahía de Banderas, Nay. especially with reference to Islas Marietas.

Completion, publication and enforcement of the regional POEs for the Coast of Jalisco and the Northern Coast of
Nayarit, Nay., including marine units.

Completion, publication and enforcement of the local POE for Huatulco, Oax. and inclusion of marine units to
protect important coral communities.

Promotion of regional POEs for the coasts of Guerrero and Oaxaca, addressing sediment input, tourism and
fishery use.

- Gulf of Mexico-Veracruz

Promotion of a regional POE for the coast of Veracruz. This POE should especially address sediment input to the
reef systems.

- Gulf of Mexico-Campeche Bank

Promotion of a marine POE for the Campeche Bank and regional OETs for the coasts of Campeche and Yucatan.

- Caribbean Sea

Enforcement of the local OET for the Cancun Tulum Touristic Corridor and the Nichupte Lagoon System,
Quintana Roo. Since the Cancun-Tulum POE is being revised, environmental criteria dealing with the parts that
won't be established as protected areas should be reinforced.

Completion, publication and enforcement of the regional POEs for the Maya Coast and Cozumel, Quintana Roo
including marine units.

Promotion and execution of local POE for the northern coast of Quintana Roo including marine units.

Action CM-6:

- Protect coral reefs and communities that are of outstanding value to the national heritage through their
inclusion in the National System of Protected Areas.

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The implementation of the following activities would consolidate the National System of Protected Areas (SINAP)
with regard to the representativity of coral related ecosystems.

Activities:

- Gulf of California

Zona de Reserva y Refugio de Aves Migratorias y de la Fauna Silvestre Islas del Golfo de California
Consolidation of the administrative structure and management plan at two levels: regional (in progress) and
specific ones for each site. Needs to be recategorized and redecreed to include marine ecosystems, including
coral reefs.

Parque Nacional Bahia de Loreto


Consolidation of administrative structure. Needs management plan.

Parque Nacional Cabo Pulmo


Needs administrative structure and management plan. A social participation structure should be defined and
established.

A project to expand the coverage of Islas del Golfo which will include coral communities is being developed.
Further research is needed in order to identify and cover all existing communities around the islands, including
those that are covered but not mentioned within the original decree. Some other small areas, yet to be identified
may also merit inclusion in the SINAP.

- Pacific Ocean

Reserva de la Biosfera Archipiélago de las Revillagigedo


Further coordination efforts needed between the Mexican Navy (SEMAR) and SEMARNAP to control touristic
activities. Needs management structure and management plan.

Zona de Refugio Submarino de Flora y Fauna y Condiciones Ecológicas del Fondo Cabo San Lucas
Needs management structure and management plan. No research has taken place, but the area seems to have
very limited potential for coral conservation. Would need to be redecreed.

Reserva de Caza Cajón del Diablo, Sonora.


Needs management structure and management plan. Research is needed to determine its potential for
preserving coral and other marine species. Would need to be redecreed.

Zona de Refugio para la Protección de Flora y Fauna Marinas Los Arcos, Jalisco
Needs management structure and management plan. Research is needed to determine its potential for
preserving coral and other marine species. Would need to be redecreed.

The following projects to create protected areas that include coral reefs or communities, have been developed to
date and are actively being promoted:
- Islas Marías, Nay.
- Islas Marietas, Nay.
- Bahías de Huatulco, Oax.
Further research is needed in order to identify all existing coral communities in the Pacific Coast, since some
areas yet to be identified may also merit to be included in the SINAP.

-Gulf of Mexico-Veracruz

Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano

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Further coordination efforts needed between the Mexican Navy (SEMAR) and SEMARNAP to control tourism and
fishery activities. Needs management structure and management plan.

The Northern Veracruz reef system should be declared a protected area and be included in the SINAP.

- Gulf of Mexico-Campeche Bank

Zona Especial de Protección de Flora y Fauna Silvestre y Acúatica Los Petenes.


Needs management structure and management plan. Research is needed to determine its potential for
preserving corals and other marine species. Marine area needs to be redecreed.

Parque Nacional Arrecife Alacranes


Further coordination efforts needed between the Mexican Navy (SEMAR) and SEMARNAP to control touristic
activities. Needs management structure and management plan.

Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Yum Balam


Needs management structure and management plan. Research is needed to determine its potential for
preserving corals and other marine species. Marine area needs to be redecreed.

A project to create a protected area that include coral reefs and communities, called Arrecifes del Banco de
Campeche, Camp., Yuc. comprising 920,671 Ha. has been developed and is actively being promoted.

- Caribbean Sea

Parque Nacional Isla Contoy


Adequate administrative structure and management plan. Fisheries research and impact assessment needed.
Tourism impact assessment needed.

Parque Nacional Costa Occidental de Isla Mujeres Punta Cancun y Punta Nizuc
Consolidation of management and administrative structure and management plan needed.

Parque Nacional Arrecife de Puerto Morelos


Needs management structure and management plan. Should be managed jointly with Costa Occidental de Isla
Mujeres Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc.

Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel


Consolidation of administrative structure and management plan needed. Requires expansion to include the algal
micro atolls and shallow patch reefs located in the northern part of the island and the enlargement of the existing
polygon to include spur and groove formations that were not included.

Parque Natural Laguna de Chankanaab, Quintana Roo.


Continue with restoration activities.

Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka'an


Consolidate administrative structure. Establish three marine core zones. Continue studies on sustainable fisheries
and reach agreements with fishers to adopt them. Maintain control over the development of tourism activities.

Reserva de la Biosfera Banco Chinchorro


Establish management structure and management plan. Enforcement activities badly needed.

The following projects to create protected areas that include coral reefs or communities have been developed to
date and are actively being promoted:
- Arrecife de Cozumel
Northern Polygon - 11,109 Ha. Enlargement of Southern Polygon - 1,705 Ha.

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- Arrecifes de Xaman-Ha, Q. Roo


Pta Maroma Polygon - 2,024 Ha.
Tulum Polygon - 12,044 Ha.
- Arrecifes de la Costa Maya, Q. Roo
Uaymil Polygon - 23,958 Ha.
Majahual Polygon - 6,028 Ha.
- Arrecifes de Xcalak ,Q. Roo - 13,340 Ha. Marine 4,037 Ha. Wetland
This park would be established adjacent to the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve in Belize, so both
management plans should be designed by international cooperation.

Further research is needed at Arrowsmith Bank in order to identify its conservation values and determine if it
merits being included in the SINAP. Presently, this area receives very little human impact, which comes mainly
from Isla Mujeres lobster fishermen. Its designation would pose an interesting challenge since it is included within
Mexico's Exclusive Economic Zone and not within Mexico's Territorial Sea.

5.3.3 Managing Coral Reef Fisheries

Problems:

The status and trends of Mexican reef fisheries are a cause of concern. Most coral reef fisheries are either fully
exploited or overexploited. Improved conservation and management is needed to insure rehabilitation of
overfished stocks, optimum utilization of fisheries resources and preservation of habitats and biological diversity
of the reef ecosystem.

Specific Goal:

To improve fisheries management to optimize resource use and ensure healthy coral ecosystems.

Specific Objective:

Reduce the impacts from fisheries that promote the degradation of coral reefs and communities, to maintain their
uses and benefits to society.

Action CM-7:

- Promote sustainable coral reef fisheries practices, balancing potential output to capture effort.

Even though coral reefs are some of the most productive marine ecosystems, if measured by total productivity
within the system, the net productivity that can be extracted from them without its collapse is very limited, since
most of the biomass is permanently circulating within the system.

Another important factor to take into account is that on coral reefs there is a permanent competition for the use of
substrate, mainly among corals, sponges and algae. In this respect, the overfishing of herbivore fish species turns
the table towards the creation of algal reefs. For fisheries this means that the total catch available from coral reefs
is limited and that overfishing can have a great immediate impact upon the health of the reef.

Although no scientific studies have been oriented to demonstrate the impact of overfishing in coral reefs in Mexico
and documentation on the impact of fisheries to reef species stocks is very scarce, empiric evidence suggests
that many reef related fisheries might be on decline in some areas.

Activities

- Consolidate the central and local coordinating mechanisms to ensure participation of the various interest groups
in the planning and implementation of fisheries management measures through the legal consolidation of the

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Fisheries Organizational Plans (Ordenamientos Pesqueros) contained within the National Fisheries and
Aquaculture Plan 1995-2000, as well as ensure that these measures are integrated in the wider plan for
management of the coastal zone.

- Develop an experimental participatory Fishery Organizational Plan for the Mexican Caribbean as a complement
and utilize the same rationale for justifying the creation of an experimental Integrated Coastal Zone Management
Authority for the Mexican Caribbean Coast (See CM-1 and CB-1).

- Consolidate, maintain and refine the National Fisheries Register (Registro Nacional de Pesca) for its use on reef
fisheries, closely monitor the number of vessels active in the reef fisheries, including information on number of
fishermen, vessel capacity, power, gear, operating range and area of operation.

- Closely monitor catch rates and species composition of coral reef fisheries, through the refinement of the
fisheries statistic information system (sistema de información estadística del sector) in charge of the General
Direction of Statistics and Information (Dirección General de Estadística e Informática).

- Prohibit fishing practices with proved adverse impacts to coral reefs and communities and promote the use of
fishing practices that protect habitat and the structure of fish populations.

-Participate in international efforts to manage reef related fisheries such as the International Queen Conch
Initiative.

- Consolidate the National Institute for Fisheries (Instituto Nacional de la Pesca) to execute research on reef
fisheries including biology/ecology, population dynamics and the recruitment of exploited species in coral reef
fisheries. Coordinate with and involve other research institutions.

Action CM-8:

- Utilize fisheries concessions, permits and authorizations as an important tool for promoting sustainable
reef fisheries through site related social and individual appropriation.

Fisheries concessions, permits and authorizations (CPA) are the instruments of environmental policy that allow
for the management of the "tragedy of the commons" dilemma, where a common use resource will be
unavoidably overexploited, unless clear definitions and rules of by whom and how can the commons be used,
thus losing their commons status. This is of special importance to coral reef fisheries since many of the organisms
are fixed to the substrate and most of the others are territorial or don't move over long distances, at least in their
adult stages.

Existing permits and authorizations most of the time lack the description of a precise fishing site or are given over
too broad an area (i.e. Gulf and Caribbean). This prevents concessionaires and permissionaires from having an
incentive for sustainable use of the fishery of a precise site, since they will be able to move to an other site and/or
whatever they don't take somebody else will. This situation weakens the potential of CPAs as policy instruments
that promote sustainable reef fisheries.

Activities:

- Consolidate the concession process for Caribbean spiny lobster that has already been initiated. Cooperatives
not included in the first phase in Quintana Roo (Chiquilá, Pescadores de Holbox, Cabo Catoche, Isla Blanca,
Horizontes Marinos, Patria y Progreso, Del Caribe, Banco Chinchorro and Andrés Quintana Roo) and Yucatan
should be included.

- Initiate a process to give concessions for queen conch and other conch species to the cooperatives that already
have quotas and permits (Langosteros del Caribe, Banco Chinchorro, Andrés Quintana Roo, José María Azcorra
and Cozumel) over the same areas given for the lobster concession. Give concessions with no quota and a

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predefined population count and methodology to other cooperatives, to encourage the recuperation of the species
to commercial status through supervision and enforcement support from the interested cooperatives.

- As existing permits for coral reef and communities related species such as stone crab, marine scale fish,
octopus and sharks (D.O.F. 01/10/1990 - Acuerdo que establece un sistema general para la expedición de
permisos de pesca comercial por pesquerias) are phased out by expiration, new fishing permits should be given
over restricted and clearly specified areas to promote individual or limited collective responsibility over coral reef
fisheries and establish the obligation to report catches by species and size.

- An independent permit for Hogfish (Boquinete - Lachnolaimus maximus), separate from the one given for marine
scale fish, should be established, modifying the permit guidelines contained in D.O.F. 01/10/1990, and given only
to lobster and conch concessionaires or permissionaires. Since Hogfish are caught only by diving and
harpooning, this measure would result in "dry" fishermen fishing from boats with no diving equipment, hooks or
harpoons, and "wet" fishermen that dive for lobster, conch and hogfish. This measure would help reduce piracy
practices through the simplification of enforcement activities.

- Permits for ornamental fish species should be given based on sound population dynamics studies presented by
the solicitant.

Action CM-9:

- Strengthen existing fisheries management legislation for its use in coral reefs and communities.

Although Mexico has an extensive body of laws dealing with fisheries, some specific modifications and additions
need to be implemented in order to adapt to particularities resulting from the specific conditions of reef fisheries
outlined in Action CM-7.

Activities:

- Modify Official Mexican Norm NOM-059-ECOL-1994 that determines status of Mexican species, to include all
species of corals within the special protection status. (This is specially important for the genus Antipathes since
the species identified by the norm are not the ones present in the Caribbean and perhaps not even in Mexico).

- Analyze the convenience and feasibility of modifying the Official Mexican Norm NOM-017-PESC-1994 that deals
with recreational fisheries to include more specific guidelines for coral reef and communities related fisheries.

- Establish an Official Mexican Norm that specifies the type and scope of studies needed to continue with and
determine catch quotas for fisheries such as:
* Nassau Grouper and other aggregating species in reproductive aggregating events.
* Black Coral species (Antiphates spp.)
* Sponge Species

- Develop specific guidelines for coral reef and communities related domestic consumption fisheries (pesca de
consumo doméstico) as called by Article 58 of the Fisheries Regulations (Reglamento de la Ley de Pesca) to
prevent negative impacts from this seemingly innocuous activity, through the establishment of a Mexican Official
Norm for coral reefs and communities and/or include these guidelines in the Reef Use Norm (See Action 4)

Action CM-10:

- Establish "no take zones" to protect breeding stock, generate increased catches in surrounding areas
and enhance the touristic value of coral reefs and communities.

"Marine fisheries reserves" or "no take zones" should be established through the designation of core zones within
protected areas (based on the Ecological Law) or the establishment of fishery reserves and refuge zones and

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fishing bans in non protected areas (based on the Fisheries Law), to protect threatened or endangered species,
or phenomena such as Nassau Grouper or other species reproduction aggregating sites. Fisheries reserves or
bans should be established according to species or zone and should be temporary or permanent. These type of
zones should be established in coordination with the fishermen, since over time they can increase catches in
surrounding areas and if feasible, alternative employment opportunities based on nature tourism, should be
implemented in order to complement the fishermen’s income while the said ifect is noticeable.. Monitoring
programs should be an integral part of the no take zones in order to document their effectiveness, of all three of
the potential benefits: protecting the breeding stock, generating increased catches in surrounding areas and
enhancing the touristic potential of coral reefs and communities to divers.

Activities:

- Define areas for experimenting with the establishment of no take zones in coral reefs with the participation of
local fishermen and communities.

- Establish two or three experimental no take zones in coral reef areas where they can be easily enforced (Xcalak,
Cabo Pulmo, parts of the Veracruz Reef System, Xamach - Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, etc.).

- Establish protocols for community participation in the evaluation of the effectiveness of no take zones.

5.3.4 Managing Threats and Opportunities from Tourism

Problems:

- Development of tourism activities that negatively affect the health of coral reefs and communities directly
through uncontrolled diving activities or indirectly through uncontrolled coastal development.

- The development of tourism activities on coral reefs and communities, has not produced revenues that are
dedicated specifically to support research and conservation activities.

Specific Goal:

To achieve sustainable use of coral reefs and communities through the implementation of planned tourism
activities that generate social benefits through the creation of employment opportunities and funds to support
research and conservation activities

Specific Objective:

Reduce the impacts from tourism that promote the degradation of coral reefs and communities to maintain their
uses and benefits to society.

Action CM-11:

- Promote sustainable tourism based on the use of coral reefs and communities and generate funds
toward their conservation through the development of this activity.

Coral reefs and communities have a high potential for sustaining touristic activities, either from traditional mass
tourism as it can be observed in Costa occidental de Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc National Park
with more than 1,000,000 visitors a year, or from the emerging markets of ecotourism, nature oriented tourism
and adventure tourism. National campaigns for promotion of tourism, should include the use of these ecosystems
as an important attraction, but should also emphasize their fragility and the necessity of using them carefully.

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Fishermen participation and cooperation in the development of tourist activities in an area, through the reduction
of catch effort in coral reef fisheries, is of special importance in order to make these habitats more valuable for
tourists by increasing the size of fish and their abundance.

The development of tourism activities in coral reefs and communities should be accompanied by mechanisms that
allow for the generation of specific funding toward their management.

Activities:

- Within the context of the Maya World tourism promotion program highlight the concept of the "Maya Reef",
stressing the importance of coral reefs as a touristic resource that needs to be responsibly managed. Specific
promotional campaigns in the Pacific Ocean resorts, should also include this concept when promoting diving
activities.

- Include local communities, and especially fishermen, as beneficiaries of touristic infrastructure development and
financing programs.

- Define specific mechanisms (either voluntary or through fiscal means) that will allow for the generation of
specific funds for management of coral reefs and communities derived from their touristic use.

Action CM-12:

- Strengthen existing tourism legislation for its use in coral reefs and communities.

The Official Mexican Norm NOM-05-TUR-1995 that deals with services provided by dive operators is currently
being modified (D.O.F. 20/10/1997). The proposed new version is excludes specifications for diving in areas not
included within protected areas, a situation that could potentially affect coral reefs. Instead of "downlisting" these
areas the norm should reinforce the responsibility of dive operators in guaranteeing that their clients do not
damage the reefs, so penalties derived from the Tourism Law and its Regulations can be applied in addition to
those within the Environmental Law. Some specific diving regulations that should be included, are already
contained within the Regulations for Diving Services (Reglamento para la Prestacion de Servicios de Buceo,
D.O.F. 24/02/92, abrogado) which is no longer in effect.

The legal responsibility of dive guides (dive masters) should be clearly defined since they are the people who
interact directly with the diver and the reef. This responsibility should be reinforced by modifying the Official
Mexican Norm NOM-09-TUR-1997 that establishes guidelines for specialized guides.

Activities:

- Reinforce Official Mexican Norm NOM-05-TUR-1995 for coral reef protection through the participatory process
established for its modification. (Deadline to provide necessary input to the Nacional Council for Touristic
Normalization 19/12/1997)

- Reinforce Official Mexican Norm NOM-09-TUR-1997 by establishing legal responsibility for dive guide in case of
negligence that causes harm to coral reefs and communities.

5.3.5 Managing Threats from Pollution

Problem:

Land-based point and non-point pollutants, in particular nutrients and sediment loads, constitute a major
contribution to the degradation of coral reefs.

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Specific Goal:

To reduce through the ICZM process the land-based (point and non-point) sources of pollution reaching the
coastal and marine environment of the region, considering the entire watershed and adopting the most
appropriate and economically feasible treatment facilities and management practices, in particular for sewage,
sediment, and nutrients.

Specific Objective:

Reduce the impacts from pollution that promote the degradation of coral reefs and communities to maintain their
uses and benefits to society.

Action CM-13:

- Reduce the threats to coral reefs and communities from pollution, especially from land-based activities.

External inputs of pollution such as nutrients, sediments and toxic substances have devastating effects over the
delicate natural balance found in coral reefs and communities. In order to achieve positive effects from this
strategy an ICZM type of approach that considers threats to coral reefs and communities at the level of the
complete watershed needs to be implemented.

Activities:

- Complete negotiation of the protocol on land-based sources of marine pollution to the Cartagena Convention
and MARPOL's Annexes III, IV and V.

- Complete "Inventory of land-based pollutants to the sea applying GIS" already initiated by the National Institute
of Ecology (INE) and the Navy Secretariat (SEMAR) for the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

- Initiate an inventory with the same methodology for the Gulf of California, the Bahia de Banderas area and the
Guerrero and Oaxaca, while the complete inventory for the Pacific Coast is executed.

- Identify and evaluate possible sources of non-land-based sources of pollution that may affect the health of coral
reefs and communities.

- Establish the baseline of environmental parameters for Mexican seas. It is especially important to determine
marine currents local patterns in and around coral reefs and communities to evaluate possible dispersal of
pollutants. Identify and monitor appropriate bio-indicators.

- Provide financial and technical assistance to implement effective existing technologies and management
practices for the collection and treatment of sewage. In this context, the best affordable technologies should also
be considered if the very best technologies, such as tertiary treatment, are unaffordable.

- Implement erosion control practices such as re-vegetation, road paving, sediment screening and soil conserving
agricultural practices, where sediments are identified as major threat to coral reefs.

- Promote sound application of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as integrated pest management.

- Implement pollution prevention strategies to reduce solid waste and industrial pollutants.

- Design and implement strategies to prevent and contingency plans to control emergencies derived from oil
spills.

- Identify and monitor appropriate bio-indicators.

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Action CM-14:

- Strengthen existing water pollution legislation for its use in coastal and marine habitats.

Fragmented and overlapping legislation for managing coastal and marine pollution and its relationship with the
adjoining watershed complicate coordination efforts toward the application of the laws.

Activities:

- Simplify and adequate existing pollution legislation dealing with watersheds, coastal and marine bodies of
waters into a comprehensive legislative framework.

- Adopt and implement relevant water quality standards such as the ones established by D.O.F. 02/12/1989 no
longer in effect (Acuerdo por el que se establecen los Criterios Ecológicos de Calidad del Agua CE-CCA-
OO1/89), which defined ecological criteria for determining water quality on inorganic, organic, microbiological and
radioactive parameters, applicable to protection of aquatic life in coastal and marine waters.

- Establish an Official Mexican Norm dealing with specific conditions of sewage discharge in the Yucatan
Peninsula subsoil, where karstic geological features pose special problems with nutrient transfer to the fringing
reefs.

5.3.6 Enforcing Environmental Legislation

Problems:

- Fragmented and overlapping policies and legislation for the coastal zone complicate the enforcement of laws
and regulations.

- Lack of financial resources for the enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

Specific Goal:

To consolidate the national capacity for enforcement of coastal zone environmental legislation.

Specific Objective:

- Build and strengthen the national capacity to effectively enforce the legislative bases that protect coral reefs and
communities.

Action CM-15:

- Utilize environmental impact assessments and mandatory environmental audits to reduce the threats to
coral reefs and communities from fisheries, tourism and pollution.

Environmental impact assessments (EIA) have traditionally been considered by economic interests as just
another element of the list of numerous pieces of red tape that stand in the way for the development of their
businesses. On the other hand cumulative impacts resulting from additive individual impacts are not considered in
individual EIS and thus affect the integrity of coral reefs and communities.

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Environmental audits within Mexican Legislation are voluntary instruments to promote self-compliance of
environmental legislation. Due to the fragility of coral ecosystems, it would be necessary to establish mandatory
environmental audit type mechanisms to evaluate impacts on coral reefs and communities in the operational
phase of projects that can affect their integrity.

Activities:

- Include, as a mandatory requirement on all EIAs for construction and/or development of activities adjacent to, or
in the vicinity of coral reefs or communities, the evaluation of impacts during the construction and operational
phases of the project to coral communities derived from:
* Expected increments of domestic consumption fisheries (pesca de consumo doméstico) and recreational
fisheries.
* Expected increments of external inputs of pollution to coral habitats such as nutrients, sediments and toxic
substances.
* Expected increments of tourist visitation to the coral habitats derived from the project.
* Expected increments of navigation related activities.

Sites where these specific items should be required include:


* Eastern Coast of Quintana Roo
* Veracruz from Laguna Tamiahua to Barra de Tuxpan and from the north of Veracruz City to Boca del Rio.
* Bahia de Banderas, Nayarit and Jalisco
* Portions of the coast of the Gulf of California, Guerrero and Jalisco.

- Define mechanisms for evaluating cumulative impacts to coral habitats derived from apparently non impacting
individual activities, analyzed through individual EIAs.

- Stipulate within the conditions (condicionantes) specified in the EIA, mandatory and pre scheduled
environmental audits as a tool to evaluate whether expected environmental impacts to coral habitats were
correctly estimated and fell within tolerable parameters.

- Stipulate within the conditions specified in the EIA, mandatory monitoring and mitigation measures or closure of
activities in cases where environmental audits detected negative impacts on coral habitats.

Action CM-16:

- Consolidate enforcement activities, utilizing the financial potential existing from the use of coral reefs.

Even though a very complete body of laws is available in Mexico to protect coastal and marine habitats, including
coral reefs and communities, the beneficial environmental impacts that they were meant to produce are not
achieved, since enforcement capabilities are extremely limited over such a large and conflictive area.

The "polluters pay" principle and its complement "beneficiaries pay", could be used to create a fund that would
reinforce the Environmental Attorney’s (PROFEPA) ability to carry out enforcement activities, if open access
resources are assigned to groups of clearly identified stakeholders. As an example, if specific groups of fishermen
or dive operators were assigned specific areas for their exclusive sustainable use, they would certainly be more
willing to pay for the enforcement of their "exclusive rights". This principle is now being experimented in some reef
protected areas, and could further be applied to guarantee availability of financial resources for enforcement
activities.

Activities:

- Define, in conjunction with present stakeholders, experimental fund generating mechanisms in specific areas, to
support enforcement activities by PROFEPA.

- Establish mechanisms to channel funds generated by penalties or fines into enforcement activities.

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- Broaden the scope of successful funding mechanisms and institutionalize them, providing the necessary
legislative framework if required.

- Gradually integrate fragmented and overlapping policies and legislation for coastal zone management, in parallel
with the development of an ICZM strategy for Mexico, in order to simplify the enforcement of laws and regulations.

- Provide specific training to PROFEPA personnel to enforce coastal and marine legislation.

- Support enforcement activities for the protection of historical heritage in the form of ship wrecks, in coordination
with the National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) (Laws on this issue also need reinforcement).

5.4 Capacity Building

Capacity Building Objectives

- Build and strengthen the national commitment and capability both within and outside the government to
implement coral reef management actions, through the development of a dynamic, on-going process of co-
management, involving the empowerment of the resource users.

- Create and fortify social awareness of the value of coral reefs and communities to provide for wide based
support for their conservation, through a change of attitudes and behavioral patterns.

- Build and strengthen sustainable financing mechanisms that will permit the implementation of the Program.

Capacity Building Strategy:

Build and maintain strong social support for reef conservation through the establishment of co-management
practices, networks for stakeholders communication, education, public education and the promotion of
sustainable financing and technical support mechanisms.

Capacity Building Actions:

- Co-Managing Coral Reef and Communities Resources

CB-1) Experiment with co-management practices, building upon existing consultative participatory bodies such as
the Technical Advisory Committees and Planning Committees of protected areas.

CB-2) Experiment with co-management practices within the context of the proposed experimental Integrated
Coastal Zone Management Authority and participatory Fishery Organizational Plan for the Mexican Caribbean.

- Educating and Informing the Public

CB-3) Launch national and local public information campaigns stressing the values that coral reefs and
communities provide to society.

CB-4) Encourage volunteer, user, private sector and general public participation in reef management.

CB-5) Incorporate coral reef conservation into school curricula.

- Sustainable Financing

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CB-6) Develop capabilities in public institutions to achieve financial sustainability of the Program.

CB-7) Develop capabilities in private institutions and organizations to achieve financial sustainability of the
Program.

5.4.1 Co-Managing Coral Reefs and Communities Resources

Problem:

Traditional public sector approaches to resource management in general, and coastal zone management in
particular, have not proven to be as effective as they need to be.

Specific Goal:

To achieve sustainable development of the coastal zone through a partnership of public and private sectors,
resource users, local communities, NGO's, the scientific community and donor agencies.

Specific Objective:

Build and strengthen the national commitment and capability both within and outside the government to
implement coral reef management actions, through the development of a dynamic, on-going process of co-
management, involving the empowerment of the resource users.

General Considerations:

As in the case of the implementation of an ICZM strategy for Mexico, and in order to advance toward the
implementation of a strategy to establish co-management practices for natural resources use in Mexico, small and
mid-scale models should be developed, as the first step to gain the experience that would help further definition of
a wider ranging strategy. The proposed co-management activities for coral reefs and communities would deal
mainly with high prized products or services such as lobster, conch and tourism, which would facilitate the
establishment of the necessary participatory forum to communicate, negotiate and develop specific agreements.

Action CB-1:

Experiment with co-management practices, building upon protected areas consultative participatory
bodies such as the Technical Advisory Committees (TAC), Planing Councils (PC) or Advisory Councils
(AC).

Activities:

- Gulf of California

Islas del Golfo


Consolidation of existing TAC for co-management of fisheries and low intensity tourism.

Parque Nacional Bahia de Loreto


Consolidation of existing PC for co-management of fisheries and tourism.

Parque Nacional Cabo Pulmo


Establishment of PC for co-management of commercial and ornamental fisheries and tourism.

- Pacific Ocean

Reserva de la Biosfera Archipíelago de las Revillagigedo

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Establishment of PC for co-management of commercial and sport fisheries.

- Gulf of Mexico

Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano


Establishment of PC for co-management of commercial fisheries, low intensity tourism and port activities.

Parque Nacional Arrecife Alacranes


Establishment of PC for co-management of commercial fisheries.

Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Yum Balam


Consolidation of AC for co-management of commercial coastal lagoon and marine fisheries.

- Caribbean Sea

Parque Nacional Isla Contoy


Consolidation of TAC for co-management of the lobster fishery and tourist activities. Experimental co-
management of the Spiny Lobster and the Ballyhoo (Hemiramphus spp.) as bait fish has provided valuable
examples.

Parque Nacional Costa Occidental de Isla Mujeres Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc
Consolidation of PC for co-management of low intensity commercial fisheries and high intensity tourism.

Parque Nacional Arrecife de Puerto Morelos


Establishment of PC for co-management of low intensity commercial fisheries and tourism.

Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel


Consolidation of AC for co-management of low intensity commercial and sport fisheries and tourism.

Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka'an


Consolidation of TAC for co-management of commercial and sport fisheries, tourism and coastal touristic
development. Experimental co-management of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster has provided valuable experience.

Reserva de la Biosfera Banco Chinchorro


Establishment of PC for co-management of commercial conch, lobster and other fisheries and low intensity
tourism.

Action CB-2:

Experiment with co-management practices within the context of the proposed experimental Integrated
Coastal Zone Management Authority and participatory Fishery Organizational Plan for the Mexican
Caribbean. (See CM-1 and CM-7).

Activities for Action CB-1 and CB-2:

- Review and analyze on-going initiatives in co-management in order to document and share experiences and
technical data in co-management.

- Develop and implement procedures for facilitating co-management of natural resources, including:
* Facilitating the formation of stakeholder groups by informing the stakeholder of the value of co-
management and how to implement it.
*Providing the scientific data (biological, economic, social, and cultural) necessary to guide the negotiation
process, implementation, and review of resource management plans.

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*Preparing a resource management plan, including appropriate legislation, that identifies and/or develops
economic alternatives for resource exploitation.

- Develop the resources necessary to effectively implement a co-management plan, including the necessary
documents and manuals for advertising and training stakeholders, government officials, international and local
funding agencies, etc.

- Form a pool of regional expertise in co-management available to aid the establishment of coastal zone co-
management (e.g. by providing training).

- Disseminate information to all the stakeholders in the co-management partnership in a relevant and appropriate
manner.

5.4.2 Educating and Informing the Public

Problem:

Poor understanding of the value of coastal and marine resources and the impact of human activities on these
resources has resulted in environmental degradation throughout the Tropical Americas.

Specific Goal:

To achieve sustainable management and conservation of coastal and marine resources through targeted
education and environmental awareness.

Specific Objective:

Create and fortify social awareness on the value of coral reefs and communities to provide for wide based support
for their conservation, through a change of attitudes and behavioral patterns.

General Considerations:

Public support is essential for any successful resource management initiative. Public awareness, education and
participation programs should play a fundamental role in building such support.

Much progress on public awareness of coral reefs has been made in Mexico, although this has happened through
negative media campaigns attacking the construction of the Puerta Maya cruise ship pier at Cozumel. On the
positive side, this has raised national public awareness of the value and fragility of coral reefs. Having gained
public attention, a unique opportunity exists to broaden public education and participation efforts, in order to
encompass more issues and propose practical solutions. Informed reef users are more likely to voluntarily comply
with regulations. Enhanced appreciation and understanding among decision makers, the private sector, and local
residents will lead to active involvement and other tangible contributions to reef management.
Public constituency development strategies can be more effective if they are planned globally but implemented at
the local level. In order to achieve broader participation in issues dealing with coral reefs and communities, the
public education and awareness component of the National Program should be designed and coordinated
through an ad-hoc Subcommittee formed within the framework of the National Committee for Conservation and
sustainable use of Mexican Coral Reefs and implemented through networks created specifically to develop and
invigorate the following Local Coral Reef Initiatives:

- Gulf of California and Northern Pacific Coral Reef Initiative:


Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit and Jalisco.

- Mexican Southern Pacific Coral Reef Initiative:


Guerrero and Oaxaca.

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- Gulf of Mexico Coral Reef Initiative:


Veracruz, Campeche and Yucatan in collaboration with US coral reef initiatives.

- Mexican Caribbean Coral Reef Initiaive:


Quintana Roo within the framework of the Mesoamerican Coral Reef Systems Initiative.

The educational and public awareness component of the National Program should be lemented with support from
the Center for Education and Training for Sustainable Development of SEMARNAP (Centro de Educación y
Capacitación para el Desarrollo Sustentable - CECADESU) and the Northwest, Occidental and South Southeast
Environmental Educators Networks (Redes Regionales de Educadores Ambientales del Noroeste - RREANO,
Occidente - REAW y Sur Sureste - RREAS de México). CECADESU works at the national level, REA works in the
Gulf of California and REAW in Nayarit and Jalisco, where the Gulf of California and Northern Pacific Coral Reef
Initiative should be implemented and RREAS is active in the geographic area that covers the Mexican Southern
Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Mexican Caribbean (active at this moment) Coral Reef Initiatives.

The National Program proposes three actions to implement this specific objective: expanded public awareness
campaigns, support for action groups, and school curriculum development.

Action CB-3:

Launch national and local public information campaigns stressing the values that coral reefs and
communities provide to society.

Large segments of the general public and selected target groups are now aware of the value of Mexico's coral
reefs and communities as a result of the extensive sensationalistic media coverage of recent years. Information
and public participation campaigns which have largely focused on the physical damage caused to reefs by tourist
related uses will need to be oriented to reinforce the favorable context for coral reef management.

Broadened national educational campaigns will help sustain media, public and political attention on the most
urgent reef protection issues. Local information campaigns should reach target groups such as fishermen and
businesses, using the most appropriate communication techniques and networks. These efforts will set the stage
for demonstrations in reef management, and enhance voluntary compliance with regulations of the National
Program.

At the national level, the information campaign should disseminate increasingly more focused information on the
impacts of coastal development on coral reefs. In addition to addressing current threats, educational messages
should include the prevention of damage from pollution and solid waste disposal. Brochures, booklets, and media
coverage should be directed at specialized audiences such as resource users, tourism businesses, and the
industrial sector. The Secretariats of Tourism (SECTUR) and Environment Natural Resources and Fisheries
(SEMARNAP), national news media, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) should be directly involved in
implementing the campaign.

Technical assistance and funds should be made available for organizing educational events and producing
materials at the state and municipal levels. Educators at local universities, and research centers, NGOs and local
governments will be responsible for establishing priorities and appropriate themes for these local campaigns.

Activities:

- Identify the relevant target groups to be addressed and involve them in the educational process.

- Conduct diagnostic studies of public awareness activities to determine those methods which have resulted in
behavioral change such as policy and institutional changes, conservation by resource users, pollution
control/mitigation by industry sector, etc.

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- Develop a targeted and strategic educational program to enhance media effectiveness in communicating coastal
issues to the general public.

- Develop programs aimed at improving public education and awareness of policy makers, fishermen, farmers,
school children, developers, tourism interest and other groups whose activities impact coastal and marine
resources.

- Prepare educational materials relating to coral reefs and associated ecosystems targeting the general public.

Action CB-4:

Encourage user, private sector and general public participation in reef management.

Community organizations, special-interest groups, and the private sector have an inherent interest in becoming
involved in some aspects of coral reef management. There is a need to encourage public participation so that
these efforts are effective and directed toward priority issues.

Local Coral Reef Initiatives should help create cooperative partnerships among government and community
groups, universities, and the private sector, to enable the active participation of the Mexican people in reef
management initiatives. These partnerships will take the form of joint ventures, corporate donations, volunteer
action, and other ways of mobilizing people and funds for conservation.

Technical assistance, documentation, and assistance in locating funds should be provided to community groups,
NGOs, and other organizations wanting to take an active role in reef management. Technical assistance should
include short-term training, public workshops, extension and advisory services for organizing cleanup campaigns,
installing and maintaining mooring buoys and signs, production of educational materials and their application,
planning reef-watch programs, volunteer visitor surveys, restoration of national park facilities, support of local
school events and outings, fund-raising events, diver safety training and other field operations. Information
brochures, maps, and other documentation should be made available to volunteer groups.

This measure will gradually create a context and means that favor volunteer public action in support of the
National Program through Local Coral Reef Initiatives. Active public participation in the practical aspects of reef
management is expected to create a sense of local and national stewardship. By developing new skills and
knowledge within special interest groups, this measure is also likely to reduce demands on government staff and
funds.

Activities:

- Provide the public with the necessary tools and technologies to affect public policy and resource use practices
which may be detrimental to coral reefs and communities.

- Develop educational packages for key economic and political sectors to demonstrate the economic benefits of
selected coastal resources conservation measures, as well as cost effective management practices and
technologies to minimize land-based sources of marine pollution.

- Inform the public of the crisis facing the coral reef systems in general and the fisheries in particular and solicit
active participation in fisheries management strategies.

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Action CB-5:

Incorporate coral reef conservation into school curricula.

There is a keen interest among educators to add environmental topics such as coral reefs and other coastal
habitats into school curricula. These topics are timely and offer excellent opportunities for multidisciplinary
classroom activities.

Over time, this measure will give educators practical experience in incorporating environmental education topics
into formal curricula. Innovative and relevant classroom activities will help to give youth a sense of national pride
in their natural heritage and to generate interest in resource management careers.

SEMARNAP and the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) should assess the feasibility of adding coast-related
topics including coral reefs into the science and social studies curricula at the primary and secondary school level.

Activities:

- Compile and evaluate existing coral reef educational materials and translate applicable materials.

- Develop hands-on and activity-based local teaching materials on marine and coastal resources for inclusion in
primary and secondary school curricula and ensure their effective application through the State Education
Systems (Sistemas Educativos de los Estados).

- Involve teachers in testing teaching materials by integrating them into lesson plans.

- Provide technical assistance and documentation to teachers.

5.4.3 Sustainable Financing

Problem:

Management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems is hampered by a lack of adequate financial resources
and difficulties in accessing them. There are inadequate national and regional capabilities to develop and
implement financial strategies for ICZM and its related components.

Specific Goal:

To improve the national capacity to generate and access funds for managing coastal resources on a sustainable
basis.

Specific Objective:

Build and strengthen sustainable financing mechanisms that will permit the implementation of the Program.

General Considerations:

Just as natural resource use should be environmentally sustainable to meet long-term objectives for improving
human welfare, conservation efforts should be financially sustainable to ensure long term environmental
protection and continuous benefits. Concern about the sustainable financing of conservation has grown with the
realization that identifying solutions to problems is not enough. Actions must be initiated and sustained through
continuous investments until conservation objectives are met. Traditional financing, such as public sector support,
is generally not a viable option for long-term conservation. Governments alone are unable to provide full support
for conservation and sustainable use efforts. While start-up costs for establishment of conservation efforts are
often forthcoming, economic uncertainty and competing demands on public budgets limit the level of investment

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for operations and maintenance. Shifting political support for the environmental agenda can prevent long-range
planning required for the sustainable management of coral reefs and communities.

Financing conservation efforts requires mixed strategies that involve combinations of approaches and
partnerships. This may include a mix of grants and loans, new approaches to revenue generation, the
development of public-private partnerships, greater participation from nongovernmental organizations and
community based co-management arrangements that build local incentives.

Sustainable financing for coral reefs and communities conservation applies not only to areas where they are
present; it must also encompass efforts outside these areas, where the bulk of development activities affecting
the productivity and health of coral reefs and communities take place.

In order to build the partnerships that will facilitate obtaining the necessary funds to implement the National
Program, it is important to clearly identify and quantify economic benefits (expressed in $) and values that coral
reef resources provide to Mexican society in general and particularly to the national economy. This information
will enhance the capability to increase financial support from public and private sources.
Action CB-6:

Develop capabilities in public institutions to achieve financial sustainability of the National Program.

Activities:

General

- Identify and quantify economic benefits and values that coral reef resources provide to Mexican society in
general and particularly to the national economy, in order to demonstrate a case for financial support from public
and private sources.

- Improve coordination among different levels and agencies of governments and with NGOs, the private sector
and other relevant organizations to identify and access funds.

- Provide training and technical assistance to environmental management agencies in the design and
implementation of revenue generating programs.

Fiscal Resources

- Utilizing hard data on the present and potential revenue generating potential of coral reefs and communities,
promote an increment of fiscal resources in the national budget dedicated to coral reef research, conservation
and management.

International Loans

- Identify funding opportunities attached to international loans, such as Word Bank/GEF grants covering
"incremental costs", derived from development projects that adopt environmental protection measures in addition
of, or with higher standards, to the ones normally required.
- Identify sources of "softer" loans to cover costs related to the development of the infrastructure, that will allow for
the conservation of coastal resources, such as sewage and water treatment systems for coastal communities
adjacent to coral reefs and communities.

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Taxes and Fiscal Rights (Derechos)

- Facilitate development of revenue generating opportunities from marine protected areas services such as
entrance and user fees, concessions, etc. and define mechanisms to channel resulting funds towards reef
conservation efforts (Destino Específico).

- Establish a tax on all diving equipment sold or brought into Mexico and channel resulting funds towards reef
conservation efforts.
- Establish mechanisms to channel funds generated by penalties or fines into enforcement activities and
institutionalize them to consolidate PROFEPA's role in supporting the National Program.

Bioprospection

- Define in conjunction with CONABIO the national guidelines for developing bioprospecting activities in Mexico.

Action CB-7:

Develop capabilities in private institutions and organizations to achieve financial sustainability of the
National Program.

Activities:

General.

- Improve coordination among national and international NGOs, regional entities, the private and social sector and
other relevant organizations with the government, to identify and access funds.

- Encourage the creation of dedicated environmental funds for research, management, and capacity building.

Nongovernmental Conservation and/or Development Organizations.

- Strengthen national, regional and local NGOs to enable them to effectively participate in the National Program,
by expanding the availability of financial resources.

- Provide training and technical assistance to environmental and/or development organizations in the design and
implementation of fundraising programs.

Research and Academic Institutions.

- Promote increased financial support for research institutions, with a special emphasis on the Mexican Pacific
and supporting long range monitoring programs.

- Promote the Mexican Research and Monitoring Agenda internationally, to attract foreign scientists who can
access international resources in support of the National Plan.

Social and Private Sectors

- Provide training and technical assistance to grassroots social organizations, in the design and implementation of
programs, that will allow them to finance the development of reduced impact resource use practices.

- Create and consolidate trade organizations interested in the conservation and rational use of the reefs used in
connection to their touristic activities, through an "adopt a reef" type of strategy.

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- Create a system of "green" (or blue) certification to identify touristic establishments that adhere to "reef safe"
guidelines.

- Define in conjunction with present stakeholders experimental fund generating mechanisms in specific areas, to
support enforcement activities by PROFEPA and supervision by INE.

- Create creative partnerships among the Mexican Government, pharmaceutical companies and the local people,
to explore the income generating potential of bioprospecting.

5.5 Research and Monitoring

Research and Monitoring Objectives:

- Obtain the scientific bases that will permit the effective conservation and sustainable management of reef
resources and associated environments.

- Define protocols and prioritize sites for monitoring the effects of natural and human impacts and their synergies
on coral reefs and communities.

- Establish the framework for interinstitutional and interdisciplinary collaboration to achieve the goal of the national
strategy.

Research and Monitoring Strategy:

- Obtain the scientific knowledge needed to manage coral reefs through the support of research and monitoring
programs and by establishing networks for coordination and cooperation among research institutions and the
other actors involved.

Research and Monitoring Actions:

- Establishing a National Research and Monitoring Agenda

RM-1) Develop a research and monitoring agenda for the Pacific Ocean.

RM-2) Develop a research and monitoring agenda for the Gulf of Mexico.

RM-3) Develop a research and monitoring agenda for the Caribbean Sea.

- Coordinating Research and Monitoring Efforts

RM-4) Establish a National Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (N-STAC) as recommended by the
Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), within the framework of the National Committee for
Conservation and Sustainable use of Mexican Reefs.

5.5.1 Establishing a National Research and Monitoring Agenda

Problems:

Ability to manage coastal resources in Mexico is hampered by:

- Limited local sociological, economical, and ecological understanding.

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- Poor knowledge of fundamental aspects of coral reef biology/ecology and sociology/natural resource economics.

- Incomplete use of available knowledge due to poor dissemination and lack of information and data-sharing
networks.

- Perceived low value of research and monitoring by funding agencies, policy-makers, and the public at large.

Specific Goal:

To utilize research and monitoring to facilitate better management of coastal and marine resources.

Specific Objectives:

Research

- Obtain the scientific bases that will permit the effective conservation and sustainable management of reef
resources and associated environments.

Monitoring

- Define protocols and prioritize sites for monitoring the effects of natural and human impacts and their synergies
on coral reefs and communities.

General Considerations:

The following Actions contain a series of recommendations aimed at making research and monitoring on Mexican
coral reefs and communities more efficient. These general recommendations are intended to balance the amount
and type of research in different geographic regions and among different topics that we consider to be priorities in
order to have a more complete and accurate knowledge of the reef structures in Mexico. We also emphasize
topics that should be considered in order to develop conservation and sustainable use of resources in different
areas.

The development of a research and monitoring agenda will improve understanding of coastal resources: the
natural ecosystem, the interaction of human activities with it, and each other and will provide information and data
to help develop useful guidelines and options for resource managers and decision makers.

The economic importance of coral reefs can not be excluded from a coherent conservation plan. Many
communities depend on resources provided by the reef such as fish, lobster, conch, black corals and tourism.
Therefore research concerned with the sustainable use of these resources should be encouraged.

Besides research directly oriented towards conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs, a point equally
important but frequently underestimated is that of basic research. This is research directly related to the biology of
the different organisms in the coral reef but with no intended application in the short or long term to its
conservation or sustainable use. Excluding this kind of research from the list of priorities will have negative long
term consequences; the accumulation of basic knowledge is frequently the source of unexpected applications and
the scientific and economic strength of a country has been shown to be highly dependent on the existence of a
strong basic research program. It is important to balance efforts and resources among research oriented to
conservation, and sustainable use and basic knowledge.

Another research issue that has been traditionally neglected is that pertaining to the archaeological exploration of
historical heritage in the form of ship wrecks, many of which are found within coral reef ecosystems.

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Action RM-1:

Develop a research and monitoring agenda for the Pacific Ocean.

Very few countries, if any, have so many coral reef formations in two different oceans. Reefs from the Pacific
Ocean had been underestimated until very recently (26 publications on this region before 1989 and 39 since that
year). One reason for this is that they were relatively unknown since they are not easily accessible from the coast
and they are not as conspicuous (emergent) as those in the Atlantic.

Recent efforts by institutions in Baja California and Oaxaca have shown that Pacific coral communities are more
important than previously thought. Despite their great effort in the last few years, the lack of information on these
communities is still enormous when we compare it with the Atlantic. Even though these coral communities may
not present the same degree of structural development as the ones in the Atlantic, this does not make them less
important since they might be equally or more sensitive to disturbances by development along the coast, such
could be the case on the Oaxaca coast near to Huatulco, where a relatively recent tourist development is taking
place. It is for this reason that more research should be focused on the study of Pacific coral communities in order
to raise the level of information to that of the Atlantic.
Accomplishing this would give Mexico the unique opportunity to develop a global strategy to study coral reefs in
two Oceans. The huge benefits derived from this would be reflected in conservation, sustainable use and basic
research since these aspects would be more efficiently accomplished. Researchers would have access to a data
network on reefs of very different characteristics.

Special efforts should be made to have a complete inventory and description of Pacific structures since many may
have not even been documented. The extension of the Mexican Pacific is enormous and great portions may have
not been properly surveyed.

Action RM-2:

Develop a research and monitoring agenda for the Gulf of Mexico.

The first formal studies on Mexican reefs were done in the Southern Veracruz Reef System. These structures
have been known in greater detail longer than any others in the country. Most of these structures are relatively
distant from the coast; however, they have been subject to disturbance and exploitation for a longer time, since
the Gulf coast has been developed for centuries. Despite this, these structures are still relatively healthy.

The structures of the Northern Veracruz Reef System, has had less attention than the one in the south. Even
though they are smaller, their importance should not be underestimated. A good reason to encourage research on
these structures, for which even base line information is not complete, is that similar structures in nearby USA
waters have been better studied. Therefore this area is a gap to be filled in order to have valuable information on
all systems in the Gulf of Mexico.

Since many organisms are shared, research should be encouraged on the same taxa studied in the Caribbean
Sea. A long history of research has accumulated significant amounts of data that are catalogued in the
bibliography of this report. This should be useful to researchers in all geographic regions in order to make their
work more comparable with that of others and to join efforts to optimize resources and information to develop
global strategies for reef conservation and use. It should be noted that a general consensus exists, regarding the
negative effects of widespread redundant scientific collecting activities from marine biology students field
activities, specially in the Southern Veracruz Reef System.

A monitoring program for the Veracruz Reef Systems should be established, designed to detect the effects
resulting from land based inputs of nutrients and sediments or impacts from toxic substances, due to their location
in the vicinity of important ports such as Veracruz and Tuxpan, and within the direct influence of the Atoyac,
Jamapa and Tuxpan rivers. Fisheries within these areas should also be closely monitored. Due to the existence of
a long history of research in the Southern Veracruz Reef System, a monitoring program in this area would be

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important to establish a Mexican data base of natural and human impacts to coral reefs, which would enable
valuable comparisons and global applications.

The Campeche Bank structures have also been the focus of studies for a long time; however, they have not had
the same amount of attention and, contrary to other regions, it seems to be decreasing (44 publications before
1989 and only 20 since that year). This is most likely due to the fact that they are far away from the coast and,
therefore, it is more costly and complicated to work there.

Efforts and resources in the Campeche Bank should be focused to balance and acquire base-line information
comparable to that available from the Caribbean and the Veracruz Reef Systems. Despite not having this
information, the establishment of a monitoring program should not be delayed in this area, with a special
emphasis on offshore oil exploration and transportation related impacts.

Action RM-3:

Develop a research and monitoring agenda for the Caribbean Sea.

Most of the research on Mexican reefs has been done in the Caribbean. This should not be a reason to stop or
underestimate the importance of continuing efforts to do further research on these structures. On the contrary,
having solid base-line information represents a great opportunity to better understand coral reef dynamics. It is for
this reason that monitoring and follow-up research should be encouraged in this area. Of special interest are
areas that now are, or will be, under some environmental stress. By this, we mean any kind of human-originated
factors such as touristic and urban development within the context of a karstic drainage system.

The creation of the Cancún-Tulum Touristic Corridor has triggered some research, since environmental impact
assessments are required before developing in a coastal area, which in this case includes reef ecosystems. The
amount of information generated by this mechanism could become important, if it is not considered just as a
prerequisite for development, but as a valuable tool to prevent and monitor impacts on the reef that would
diminish the touristic appeal and potential of the area.

Contrary to reef structures in other geographic areas in Mexico, Caribbean reefs are, for the most part, very close
to the shoreline (in many parts less than 1 km). This makes such structures especially sensitive to development
on the shore.

Although we identified in this review more publications from the Caribbean reefs, than for any other area, this
work is mainly recent (99 publications before 1989 and 191 since that year). Therefore, contrary to other areas,
like the Gulf of Mexico (123 publications before 1989 and 73 since that year), we do not have enough information
through time to make accurate predictions or assess long term cycles that could take place on these reefs. It
would be a mistake to make decisions assuming that we have complete information on the dynamics of these
structures.

For these reasons and since the area concentrates a large amount of coral reefs monitoring projects, it is
important to integrate existing individual efforts into an efficient monitoring research program, where information is
systematically collected with increasingly commensurable protocols (respecting each protocol's individual
requirements), utilizing the ample array of existing uncoordinated monitoring efforts already taking place in the
Caribbean Sea by various institutions such as:

- Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia UNAM - High resolution CARICOMP methodology being applied in
one station at Puerto Morelos. Monitoring of coral transplants at Chancanab, Cozumel.

-Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C. - Moderate resolution Belt Quadrat methodology in five stations Puerto Morelos
(1993), Akumal (1993 and 1995), Yuyum (1992 to 1997), Punta Pájaros (1992 and 1995) and Chahuay (1993).
Low resolution Reefkeeper methodology on three stations in Punta Cancun, Punta Nizuc and Costa Occidental
de Isla Mujeres (1996).

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-Parque Nacional Arrecife de Cozumel - Low resolution Reefkeeper methodology on four stations, two at Paraiso,
and one each on Cardona and Colombia (1996).

-Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Avanzados CINVESTAV-IPN Lineal transects, bioindicators and


permanent monitoring sites, supported by photographic and video recordings, to monitor effects on the coral
structures from the construction of a cruise ship pier and coral transplants at Arrecife Paraiso Cozumel. Aerial
and underwater photography at Akumal.

-Centro Ukana I Akumal - Low resolution Planetary Coral Reef Foundation methodology at Akumal.
-Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Alabama - Monitoring impacts of CALICA port.

The taxa that should be especially looked at are those that are most likely to reflect environmental changes in the
system (e.g. scleractinians, gorgonians, fish and algae). Most of the research that has been done on these reefs
already has accumulated base-line information on these taxa, which makes even more valuable to develop a
monitoring system like the one proposed.

Activities for Actions RM-1, RM-2 and RM-3:

Research

- Complete basic inventories of coral reefs and communities and associated ecosystems in Mexico, especially in
the Pacific Ocean, the Northern Veracruz Reef System, the Campeche Bank and Arrowsmith Bank.

- Conduct interdisciplinary research on natural variation in the system, on human impacts, and on synergies
between them.

-Conduct research on the sustainability of current reef based fisheries and document their impact to species
stocks and coral reefs and communities.

- Conduct research on the oceanographic aspects of the system, with an emphasis on marine current patterns,
since existing information on this important is very scarce.

- Conduct research in the natural and social science disciplines, including research on economic valuation and
cost-benefit analysis.

- Conduct archaeological and biological research on ship wrecks, through the coordination of the National Institute
of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia -INAH).

- Conduct interdisciplinary research, development and demonstration on the mitigation of human impacts, for
example:
* Primary management and treatment of sewage for karstic regions.
* Low-cost secondary and tertiary treatment of sewage.
* Watershed management and control of sedimentation.
* Fishery improvements by gear changes, no-take zones and determination of sustainable
levels of coral reef resource use.
* Guidelines for managing impacts derived from touristic, recreational and commercial
navigation and port activities.

Monitoring

- Utilizing basic inventories and present and foreseeable threats, design and establish a unified and coherent
monitoring strategy for Mexican coral reefs and communities, based on the mechanisms and site selection criteria
established by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), such as the following proposed components:

Low Resolution Monitoring Sites

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* Cabo Pulmo and Bahia de Loreto National Parks and other sites in the Pacific Ocean with coral reefs or
communities widely used by tourism. - Pacific Ocean
* Isla Contoy, Costa Occidental de Isla Mujeres-Punta Cancún-Punta Nizuc (extremely degraded), Puerto
Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Tulum, Xcalak, Paraiso, Cardona, Colombia and other reefs widely used for
tourism. - Caribbean Sea.

Moderate Resolution Monitoring Areas

*Gulf of California, Nayarit-Jalisco and Guerrero Oaxaca - Pacific Region (diversity and environmental conditions
gradient). - Pacific Ocean
*Northern Veracruz Reefs (low diversity reefs at geographic extremes and subject to a variety of human impacts)
and Campeche Bank (remote reefs). - Gulf of Mexico
*Quintana Roo coast (high diversity reefs subject to a variety of human impacts, mainly tourism and urban
development at different intensities, some sites with continuous monitoring data), Cozumel (windward and
leeward reefs present) and Banco Chinchorro (remote windward and leeward reefs) - Caribbean Sea

High Resolution Monitoring Sites

*Gulf of California (reefs and communities at geographic extremes) and Oaxaca sites to be determined. - Pacific
Ocean
* Southern Veracruz Reef System (reefs subject to a variety of human impacts and experiencing a range of land
runoff). - Gulf of Mexico
* Puerto Morelos (site with continuous monitoring data within the CARICOMP network). - Caribbean Sea

- Utilize monitoring methods for biophysical parameters recommended by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring
Network (GCRMN) and presented in the Survey Manual for Tropical Marine Resources (Eds. English, Wilkinson
and Baker).

- Engage the collaboration of resource users, scientists, and managers, as appropriate and feasible, in monitoring
coral reef resources.

- Monitor key critical parameters for adaptive management including biological, physical, chemical, social,
economic, and cultural parameters.

- Improve statistical reporting mechanisms on reef fishi and other species stocks, catches, and investment trends.

- Improve statistical reporting mechanisms on touristic use of coral reefs and communities.

- Ensure that research and monitoring results, and their implications, are made known to the public.

5.5.2 Coordinating Research and Monitoring Efforts

Problem:

Lack of coordination among different institutions and individuals developing coral reefs and communities research
and monitoring programs, prevent rational use of scarce human and financial resources.

Specific Goal:

To improve coordination and information sharing between natural and social sciences and within science
disciplines.

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Specific Objective:

Establish the framework for interinstitutional and interdisciplinary collaboration to achieve the goal of the national
program.

Action RM-4:

Establish a National Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (N-STAC) as recommended by the
GCRMN, within the framework of the National Committee for Conservation and Sustainable use of
Mexican Reefs.

Coral reef research in Mexico can be characterized as the result of individual or small group efforts within a very
limited range of large institutions. This has permitted the development of an important body of research, but with
the lack of wider ranging research networks, has not allowed for the development of a cadre of researchers as
large and synergetic, as the one needed to cover research on the rich and diverse coral resources present in
Mexico. On the other hand, most of the research has come from the biological sciences, with scarce participation
from the physical sciences and little participation from the social sciences.

The fact that the reefs presently provide important resources to human populations and that these populations
represent the most significant threat to coral reefs, demands an interaction between the natural and social
sciences in order to develop a coherent research agenda that contemplates simultaneously economic, social,
political and scientific perspectives.

An efficient exchange of information between institutions, organizations and individuals working on Mexican coral
reefs and communities should be promoted, since this lack of communication between different groups makes
efforts less efficient.

A common tendency in Mexico is for professionals to concentrate on existing large and important institutions,
which already provide greater support for research. Despite obvious individual advantages of this strategy, in the
global perspective this centralizes and makes research less efficient. This is why researchers should distribute
themselves among different institutions, reinforcing the weaker ones. This would optimize resources and make
reef structures more accessible to different research groups along the country. State universities in Mexico other
than UNAM and IPN have only recently began to develop research of the same, or sometimes higher, quality than
that developed by these two large institutions. Also, the emergence of non governmental organizations concerned
with research and conservation should be encouraged.

The advantage of collaborating with foreign scientists should also be stressed. Opportunities for reef research in
other countries may be scarce, and enough baseline information already exists in Mexico to attract scientists from
other countries. Mexico can benefit greatly from offering opportunities to foreign scientists to come and work in
Mexican reefs, not only for the information obtained through the work, but for the training they could provide to
Mexican students and professionals that would collaborate with them. Scientists from other countries frequently
have access to resources that we do not have in Mexico and by creating collaboration networks we would also
gain access to these resources.

Activities:

- Expand the scope of the informal scientific network that has been formed for the Caribbean Sea within the
National Committee for Conservation and Sustainable use of Mexican Reefs, with regard to the Mesoamerican
Coral Reef Systems Initiative, to include institutions and researchers working in other parts of Mexico to integrate
the N-STAC as recommended by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN).

- Within the N-STAC and in order to make it more operative, establish well balanced Local Advisory Boards for
research, monitoring and management for the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

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- Nominate Mexican scientists from the N-STAC to promote and participate in the Caribbean Tropical Americas
Regional STAC.

Within the context of the N-STAC and the Local Advisory Boards:

- Define the Mexican Coral Reefs Research and Monitoring Agenda, with the participation of different disciplines
(biologists, oceanographers, sociologists, economists, archaeologists, lawyers, etc.), stakeholders (fishermen,
touristic services providers, coastal communities) and different agencies and levels of government (Federal, State
and Municipal).

- Implement through the Internet an efficient communication network among Mexican and foreign reef scientists,
establishing a newsgroup-format Internet list especially devoted to Mexican coral reefs and communities. (Collect
electronic addresses of author list in the review)

- Promote increased support for research institutions throughout the region and for communication networks that
facilitate monitoring, research and management initiatives.

- Enhance human resource development in science, and promote an informal network to support personnel
dedicated to resource administration, education and enforcement through technical assistance and training.

- Promote the Agenda in academic institutions in order to engage students in coral reefs and communities related
studies.

- Provide infrastructural support for research activities, through the optimal use of existing facilities (wider use of
INP-CRIP and UNAM field stations to nonaffiliated researchers) and equipment (wider use of research vessels
and Navy ships).

- Reinforce existing national and regional mechanisms, organizations for research, management and
dissemination of scientific information among countries utilizing common resources, utilizing as a starting point the
Mesoamerican Coral Reef Initiative and broadening its scope and reach.

- Promote the Mexican Research and Monitoring Agenda internationally, to attract foreign scientists and support
them with the use of existing infrastructure and the collaboration of Mexican students that would gain experience
through their participation.

- Coordinate activities with the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, CARICOMP and Reefcheck.

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ANNEX

Bibliographic Information

The following is a list of references on Mexican coral reefs and associated fauna. We tried to
find all available references, however, the criteria to include or exclude a reference were
sometimes hard to apply. We tried to obtain the abstract or full text when we could, since the
tittle was not always enough to decide if the reference should be on the list. Although we
revised it as much as we could, in the time given for its completion, we know that further
revisions may improve it. We intend to continuously correct it and update it, hopefully with the
help of other professionals working in this field.

The list is divided in four sections, the first one, Bibliographical Review, includes all scientific
publications (papers, chapters, theses and symposia presentations) and reports found; all in
alphabetical order.

The second section, Bibliographical Review by Region and Topic, includes the same
references, now arranged according to geographical area and the topics addressed by them;
since many references may deal with more than one region or topic, they may be repeated in
different subsections. Also, a few references from the first section may not be listed since they
could not be attributed to one specific region or topic

The third section, Popular Literature, includes non-technical or non-scientific publications.

The fourth section, Popular Literature by Geographic Region, is a selection of the literature in
the previous section which includes those articles that deal with specific regions, arranged
accordingly.
Persons wanting to include publications, or who have comments on this list should contact:

Mexican Coral Reef Bibliographical Review Editor


Amigos de Sian Ka’an A.C.
Apartado Postal 770
Cancún, Quintana Roo
77500 México
Fax: (98) 87-3080
E-mail: sian@cancun.com.mx

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Bibliographical Information

Section 1
General Bibliographical Review
Scientific publications and technical reports 189

Section 2
Bibliographical Review by Region and Topic 221

Caribbean Sea 221


Ecology 221
General Descriptions 230
Taxonomy 232
Conservation 235
Economic Importance 237
Geology 240
Gulf of Mexico 241
Ecology 241
General Descriptions 246
Taxonomy 248
Conservation 253
Economic Importance 254
Geology 255
Campeche Bank 255
Ecology 255
General Descriptions 256
Taxonomy 257
Conservation 258
Economic Importance 259
Geology 259
Pacific Ocean 260
Ecology 260
General Descriptions 263
Taxonomy 263
Conservation 264
Economic Importance 264
Geology 264

Section 3
Popular LIterature Review 265

Section 4
Popular Literature by Geographic Region 270

Caribbean Sea 270


Gulf of Mexico 272
Campeche Bank 273
Pacific Ocean 273

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Section 1

Bibliographic Review

Scientific publications and technical reports


543 references

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Lozano-Alvarez, E. P., P. Briones-Fourzán, L. Santarelli, and A. Gracia. 1982. Densidad poblacional de Panulirus
gracilis Streets y P. inflatus Bouvier (Crustacea: Palinuridae) en dos áreas cercanas a Zihuatanejo, Guerrero,
México. Ciencia Pesquera 3:61-73.

Lozano-Alvarez, E. P., P. Briones-Fourzán, and J. González-Cano. 1991. Pesca exploratoria de langostas con
nasas en la plataforma continental del área de Puerto Morelos, Q. R. Anales del Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y
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spiny lobsters Panulirus argus (Latreille, 1804), on the shelf outside Bahía de la Ascensión, Mexico. Fish. Bull.
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Morelos, Q. Roo. B.Sc. Thesis. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F. 63 pp.

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Osorio-Tafall, B., and M. Cárdenas. 1945. Sobre las esponjas comerciales de Quintana Roo y una enfermedad
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(Latreille) en Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo. B.Sc. Thesis. Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.

Padilla-Souza, A. C. 1992. Estimación de tamaños poblacionales y patrones de movimiento en poblaciones de


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Bahía de la Ascención, Q. R., México. B.Sc. Thesis. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.

Sánchez-Segura, M., and E. Jordán-Dahlgren. 1996. Xcaret coral reef aquarium: An educational and scientific
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Caribbean: Geology
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Section 2
Bibliographical Review by Region & Topic
Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico: Ecology
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