Recently, steps have been taken to control the access to the Main Bay in Akumal by eliminating the traditionally used entrance point and diverting beach-goers through an area where the traffic can be controlled and access denied if deemed necessary. That path, which is now closed, is the route traditionally used by Akumal residents and visitors to the Main Bay. However, it is also used by tour groups and fisherman and other individuals conducting business in the area. Cutting off this unrestricted access has caused confusion and hard feelings in the community. There have been a lot of questions about who owns and has the right to control this property. Certain unclear and incendiary reports in the local media have only served to further muddy the waters.
What follows is a message from the board of CEA – Centro Ecológico Akumal in order to answer some of the questions and complaints that have been raised over the past few weeks. It has been reprinted here in its entirety.
In an effort to clarify certain issues that are affecting Akumal and Centro Ecológico Akumal at this time, we submit the following information.
Akumal Bay is being destroyed from massive snorkel tourism, and related bad snorkeling and marine recreation practices (grabbing sea turtles, standing on coral, poaching sea turtle nests, illegal vendors, shoddy equipment, molesting visitors). Centro Ecológico Akumal (CEA), the hotels, and dive shops are working to revert this situation through better control of the beachfront properties and by implementing an integrated bay management program.
1. CEA owns the land on which its offices are located; from the middle of the road between Super Chomak / Hotel Club Akumal Caribe and El Pueblito in the south / east, and El Pueblito and the federal zone of the beach (east / west) and Taj-Kumal and the mangrove to the west / north.
2. CEA has owned this land since 1973, first in a bank trust as Club de Yates Akumal, and since 1993, as Centro Ukana I Akumal, A.C., better known as Centro Ecológico Akumal, and with direct title.
3. CEA land is not an official public access site of Akumal; the public entrance is further south.
4. In the past, CEA had no need to control its property as it does now. Today, we witness multitudes of tours (legal and illegal) commercially using CEA property to take tours to Akumal Bay; also there are robberies; drug sales; illegal merchants on the federal zone; violence; basic insecurity, due to lack of control of our property.
5. CEA cannot and is not “privatizing” Akumal beach; it is demanding that the government respect its constitutional rights as land owner and Mexican civil association. Several business interests are attempting to take over CEA land and they are being supported by certain municipal government representatives.
6. CEA is changing the location of access across its property to a more secure and controlled site, and IS NOT denying access to the local population. CEA will guarantees free access to Akumal and Chemuyil citizens and residents. CEA has the legal right to determine what businesses use its property and is asking for that right to be upheld.
7. CEA is working with the local hotels, dive shops and tour operators to update and implement a management plan for Akumal bay, with the help of federal authorities and within the federal legal framework for ecosystem and species protection. However, this plan cannot work if the uncontrolled number of commercial tours continues to enter the bay each day.
8. All properties and resident dive shops support and agree to work within the parameters of the integrated bay management program.