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By Nadia T. Rubio-Cisneros, Mar Sustentable Ciencia y Conservacion A.C.
Many islands around the world face overfishing, biodiversity loss, increased human population and habitat fragmentation. In the Mexican Caribbean Islands (MCI), growing coastal exploitation and tourism development have altered ecological functions that provide environmental services to humans. In Mar Sustentable Ciencia y Conservación, A.C. we are conducting interdisciplinary baseline research to learn about coastal exploitation on Cozumel Island. The methodology is focused on documenting traditional fisheries knowledge. We have collected 60 surveys of fishermen that have a geospatial component. Preliminary results show a coastal landscape where lobsters and large fish of high trophic levels such as sharks and large groupers abounded. We are also documenting narratives of changes in the landscape and culture of fishing; 116 historic fishing sites have been documented.
Cozumel faces a growing fishing effort and plans to continue tourism development which makes it relevant to generate information about a baseline of its fisheries resources and coastal biodiversity. The stories of coastal exploitation obtained in Cozumel are similar to other MCIs and Latin America. The world is facing an environmental crisis. Efforts to protect MCI face challenges from continued tourism development, and lack of enforcement of regulations and budget for conservation. This research will generate evidence of human-environment interactions over time on Isla Cozumel which may help environmental managers take action to protect the island's natural capital.
Dive With Martin’s environmental commitment related to promoting the health of Cozumel's reefs has resulted in close collaboration and friendship with the members of Mar Sustentable Ciencia y Conservación, A.C. The DWM team has been supporting MS's field research in Cozumel as we have been conducting outing trips to various sites on the island to document fishermen's information in underwater observations. In Mar Sustentable Ciencia y Conservacion, A.C. we are very grateful for this collaboration and soon we hope to have more results to tell you. If you are interested in learning more about our initiative or ever go diving with us, you can visit our social networks or contact the DWM team.
Nadia T. Rubio-Cisneros (1,2), Izaizel L. Cruz-Gómez (2,3), Oscar Frausto-Martínez (4) , Francisco Rodríguez-Castillo (4), Andrés Romero-López (2,4), Felix A. Vázquez-Pech (2,5), Teresa Martín (2,6), Rodrigo A. Núñez-Inzunza (2,7), José Ignacio González-Rojas (1)
1 Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Laboratorio de Biología de la Conservación y Desarrollo Sustentable.
2 Mar Sustentable Ciencia y Conservación, A.C.
3 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Ciencias.
4 Universidad Autónoma de Quintana Roo, Campus Cozumel, Laboratorio de Observación e Investigación Espacial.
5 Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia.
6 Corales Vivos Cozumel.
7 Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados. Unidad Mérida.
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