Profepa stops hotel from building on sea turtle nesting site

Xcacel beach, north of the resort of Tulum. Photo: Getty
Xcacel beach, north of the resort of Tulum. Photo: Getty

Environmental authorities have denied permits for a proposed hotel near one of Mexico’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches on the Yucatán’s Caribbean shore.

But the next president has rejected a proposal to save another endangered species on the opposite corner of the country.

The 520-room hotel project on the Riviera Maya would have erected 23 buildings and an artificial lake on property just inland from the Xcacel beach, north of Tulum.

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Profepa said the project could threaten Xcacel, and called it “the site with the largest observed nesting of sea turtles on the entire Yucatán Peninsula.”

The beach is a nesting site for loggerhead, hawksbill and green sea turtles.

Some parts of the property are protected, but other parts have been the target of real estate development plans since the late 1990s. Environmental authorities have turned down at least one previous proposed “eco hotel” project there.

On Mexico’s western coast, President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced he has blocked a near ban on fishing in the Sea of Cortez, a proposal aimed at saving the last 30 vaquita porpoises known to survive.

Vaquitas have been decimated by nets set for the totoaba fish, whose swim bladder is considered a delicacy in China and commands high prices.

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But the president-elect said over the weekend that “we have gotten visits from fishermen who were worried that the federal government would decree a fishing ban in the Gulf of California,” Lopez Obrador said. “We talked with (current president Enrique) Peña Nieto and that decree has been blocked.”

López Obrador will take office Dec. 1, but outgoing Peña Nieto has made it clear he won’t cross the incoming president.

Source: Associated Press

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