Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park

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Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park
Map showing the location of Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park
Map showing the location of Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park
LocationCozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Nearest citySan Miguel de Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Coordinates20°17′37″N 87°01′29″W / 20.29361°N 87.02472°W / 20.29361; -87.02472Coordinates: 20°17′37″N 87°01′29″W / 20.29361°N 87.02472°W / 20.29361; -87.02472
Area120 km2 (46 sq mi)
EstablishedJuly 19, 1996[1]
Governing bodySecretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources
Official nameParque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel
Designated2 February 2005
Reference no.1449[2]

The Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park is off the coast of the island of Cozumel in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The Cozumel reef system is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest coral reef system in the world.[3][4] Even though almost the entire island of Cozumel is surrounded by coral reefs, the park only encompasses the reefs on the south side of the island. It begins just south of the International Pier and continues down and around Punta Sur and up just a small portion of the east side of the island. The park contains both shallow and mesophotic coral reefs and extends to the 100 m depth isobar.[5]

This park is protected under the Ramsar Convention along with Manglares y Humedales del Norte de Isla Cozumel, they both are included in the UNESCO protected area called Isla Cozumel Biosphere Reserve, Mexico.[6]


The park is located in the municipality of Cozumel in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is about 20 kilometers (12 mi) off the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Caribbean Sea.


On July 19, 1996, under the direction of president Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, Arrecifes de Cozumel was declared a National Marine Park.[1] The park size is 120 square kilometres (46 sq mi).[7]


Coral reefs and marine life in Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park
The Cozumel splendid toadfish

Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park is part of a diverse ecosystem of coral reefs that is home to more than 1,000 marine species.[6] The reefs are primarily found on underwater cliffs, there are also some in coastal lagoons and on sand bars at the north tip of the island.[8] Cozumel's deeper coral reefs were historically famed for their black corals,[9] yet black coral populations declined from the 1960s to the mid-1990s because of overharvesting[9] and by 2016 had not recovered.[10] The reefs there are made up of hard coral and soft coral. The marine life that inhibit the reefs include zoanthids, polychaets, actinarians, hydroids, sponges, crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms and many varieties of Caribbean fish. The park is also a habitat to several endangered marine species such as the loggerhead and hawksbill sea turtles, queen triggerfish, and the endemic splendid toadfish.[8] Due to the abundant marine life and coral reefs the clear and warm Caribbean water, Cozumel is considered one of the best scuba-diving destinations in the world.[11]

It is also home to the Cozumel splendid toadfish (Sanopus splendidus) which is listed as vulnerable by IUCN and is entirely endemic to the reefs surrounding the island. The park also has several species that are under some degree of protection, including sea turtles (green turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, and the hawksbill sea turtle), the queen conch, and black coral.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "CEMDA "Decretos, Arrecifes de Cozumel"" (in Spanish). Mexico. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  2. ^ "Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. ^ Chollett, Iliana; Garavelli, Lysel; Holstein, Daniel; Cherubin, Laurent; Fulton, Stuart; Box, Stephen J. (December 2017). "A case for redefining the boundaries of the Mesoamerican Reef Ecoregion". Coral Reefs. 36 (4): 1039–1046. Bibcode:2017CorRe..36.1039C. doi:10.1007/s00338-017-1595-4. ISSN 0722-4028. S2CID 43249461.
  4. ^ Gress, Erika; Voss, Joshua D.; Eckert, Ryan J.; Rowlands, Gwilym; Andradi-Brown, Dominic A. (2019), Loya, Yossi; Puglise, Kimberly A.; Bridge, Tom C.L. (eds.), "The Mesoamerican Reef", Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems, Springer International Publishing, vol. 12, pp. 71–84, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-92735-0_5, ISBN 9783319927343, S2CID 181668611
  5. ^ Gress Erika; Arroyo-Gerez Maria J.; Wright Georgina; Andradi-Brown Dominic A. (2018). "Assessing mesophotic coral ecosystems inside and outside a Caribbean marine protected area". Royal Society Open Science. 5 (10): 180835. doi:10.1098/rsos.180835. PMC 6227970. PMID 30473832.
  6. ^ a b "Isla Cozumel Biosphere Reserve, Mexico". UNESCO. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  7. ^ "Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park".
  8. ^ a b "Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel". The Ramsar Convention Secretariat. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Padilla, Claudia; Lara, Mario (2003). "Banco Chinchorro: The Last Shelter for Black Coral in the Mexican Caribbean". Bulletin of Marine Science. 73 (1): 197–202. Archived from the original on May 28, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  10. ^ Andradi-Brown, Dominic A.; Gress, Erika (2018-07-04). "Assessing population changes of historically overexploited black corals (Order: Antipatharia) in Cozumel, Mexico". PeerJ. 6: e5129. doi:10.7717/peerj.5129. ISSN 2167-8359. PMC 6035717. PMID 30013832.
  11. ^ "Cozumel Island, Mexico". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 9, 2020.