In the last 5 years, the restoration of coral reefs, in the vicinity of the Marietas Islands National Park, is evident with the sowing of coral fragments, after the severe impact that was due to the lack of control in the number of people and boats allowed in the area. In the last monitoring carried out by researchers from the University Center of the Coast, of the University of Guadalajara, a notable increase of 22% was observed, when before that date it was 11%, according to records.
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Dr. Amilcar Cupul Magaña, director of the Coastal Research Center, of the Department of Biological Sciences of the CUCosta, headed by Dr. Jorge Téllez, Rector of the center, announced that this percentage means that the coverage of the presence of corals is increasing due to the control of visitors by the federal authorities.
However, despite continuous surveillance, the fishing activity continues to be a problem in the area, affecting certain important areas, such as the cliffs, which are located very close to the Marietas Islands. In the underwater tours, nets have been found stuck in the corals.
Dr. Amilcar Cupul, who is also a member of the National System of Researchers, recalled that it was in 2016, when the closure of the Marietas Islands National Park was ordered, due to damage to the coral reefs, and the restoration project of coral began.
“We must continue working on this long-term project, with or without resources. In 2019, all support from the federal government was canceled. Fortunately, last year, we did have support, through an organization that was headed by students, because as a public servant, I do not have access to participate in these programs,” said Doctor Cupul.
Due to the restriction of activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a clear effect on the coral community; that is, a greater abundance of fish is seen during the monitoring that has been carried out in the last 10 years.
About $400,000 pesos a year are required to execute the coral reef restoration program in the vicinity of the Marietas Islands. Each year, 12 monitoring trips must be made, with diving equipment and the expenses involved in the transfer by boat.
There are two islands, one long and the other round, there is also a small group of islets, three in the North part, two in the South part. In this ecosystem, there are a large number of reptiles, terrestrial, marine, and aquatic. There are also terrestrial, marine, and aquatic birds. More than 130 species of fish, twelve coral, six urchins, 16 sea cucumbers, and more.
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These restoration works are carried out with resources from the programs of the Centro Universitario de la Costa, the University of Guadalajara, the National System of Researchers, and resources from those involved.
Among the financing efforts to continue with this coral restoration plan, the support of National Geographic was obtained. And it is hoped that the Federal Government can support this program in the Islas Marietas National Park.