Site: Sian Ka’an
What is your personal relation to the marine WHS you represent?
Carrillo Puerto is the municipality where the reserve is. I have lived there for 15 years. Almost all my days have had an element of walking or biking in the paths of the forest or swimming on one of it lakes, with family or friends. Knowing at first the dangerous plants or animals, to be aware, then trying to know a few names, knowing which plants can be use as medicine, which can be eaten, which is nest of which animal. Recognizing birds, foot steps of animals, recognizing the animals. Nothing like knowing to make you give every animal, plant, sea, lake it value. Valuate it in its nature functions, as a complement of a bigger picture. Living in a small town with conserved areas let understand the importance of using nature resources in a sustainable way, with respect, and understand how like this life (human and not human) can be better.
What are the specific problems and threats of your marine WHS?
“The economic forces of industry, mainly tourism industry in the region (Cancun, Riviera Maya, Tulum) is having a big pressure on the reserve it self and in its wild live, seeing most of the times just as resources. The buffer area of the reserve is being reduced, used for construction. There is also pressure on the mangrove area, considered by many as a barrier for development.
Inside the reserve, there is a community, Punta Allen and several farms, established before the reserve was decreed. Even though the community is doing management of the marine resources (using an special internal law for fisheries, not doing out of season fishing and monitoring banks of fish), some external people, or/and people from other places, are not respecting the same code. That affects the production of fish, therefore, the finance income of local people.
Other problems: Overexploitation of resources (as chiit palm). Some invasive species as the lion fish, that has not natural predator in the region. The load capacity of the reserve is overcharged with the big number of Jeeps entering, those, not all times respecting local fauna in the ways.
Why do you think is it important to safeguard your marine WHS?
Sian Kaàn Biosphere reserve, has several ecosystems on it, marine zone, mangrove, forest, grassland. It has an enormous flora and fauna diversity. Conserve it is an important strategy for the permanence of several species. Apart from the invaluable beauty of its nature and landscapes, it is a focal point for environmental education. As I said before, nothing better than know nature to value it and to love it.