On June 19th, El Diario de Yucatán newspaper reported that President Enrique Peña Nieto promulgated two decrees which prohibit oil extraction and exploration within a coastal margin area of 180 kilometers of Yucatan, including the Scorpions Reef (Arrecife de Los Alacranes) area.
Both decrees seek to preserve coral reefs, wetlands, the environment, and the touristic potential of the place, which, according to experts, will make it much more difficult for PEMEX or any other oil company to come to the state.
Such edicts are positive because they will prevent Yucatan from becoming a similar area like Campeche, Tabasco or Tamaulipas, according to the president of the West State Center Federation of Fishermens Cooperatives, Jose Luis Carrillo Galaz. “With this, capture rates dwindled dramatically,” he said.
However, these presidential decrees do not restrict the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons 200 kilometers off the Yucatecan coast in deep waters.
Carrillo Galaz mentioned that their importance is not only to ban extraction tasks, but also oil exploration which can cause severe damage to marine species. For instance, he explained that in recent years, specialized vessels conducted superficial recognition and exploration activities, specifically studies to obtain 2D-seismic data, which used seven-kilometer cables and produced severe detonations. “This event killed and frightened thousands of fish in the area, particularly those in the reproductive stage”.
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