Black coral conservation on the island of cozumel

Snapshot Solution
Coral negro en artesanias

On Cozumel Island, Quintana Roo, Mexico, black coral (Antipatharia) is used for crafting items sold to tourists. This rare species, used by Cozumel artisans, is endangered. Corals are crucial for marine ecosystems, providing homes and refuge for various marine species. The collection of black coral for crafts contributes to the degradation of these habitats, negatively impacting marine biodiversity and ecosystem balance. Black coral is extracted at a depth of 180 feet, carved, polished, and used for jewelry sold to tourists.

Coral reefs worldwide are in critical trouble due to pollution, overfishing, ocean acidification, and climate change. Corals grow only a few millimeters a year, and their slow growth and reproduction rates make it difficult for them to regenerate as they are depleted.

Mexico has a marine protection system, but corruption in the country can harm nature. Awareness campaigns for tourists are needed, as Cozumel and Cancun are among the most visited beaches annually due to tourism.


Last update: 01 Dec 2023
Challenges addressed
Storm surges
Tropical cyclones / Typhoons
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Inefficient management of financial resources
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Unemployment / poverty
Scale of implementation
Coral reef
Ecosystem services
Erosion prevention
Science and research
Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Central America
South America

We are encouraging the use of alternative materials, promoting diversification of income sources, and reducing the artisans' dependence on coral. The preservation of coral reefs holds the potential to promote ecotourism, attracting divers and eco-tourists to thriving reef ecosystems, this may be into economic benefits for nearby communities through various tourism-related activities. Conservation projects not only reinforces their connection to the marine environment but also participation in protecting. We aim to raise awareness among tourists about this, starting from the moment tourists check into their hotels, we plan to provide informative presentations on television or distribute informational materials, highlighting the vulnerability of black corals and consequences of purchasing crafts made from them. Also, restaurants where menus or bills will include this critical information on biodegradable cardboard, ensuring that tourists are well-informed.We aspire to establish partnerships with diverse organizations to advocate for the creation of an environmental justice court in Mexico. The establishment of such a court is imperative to ensure that individuals are held accountable for their actions concerning environmental preservation. At present, such a legal entity does not exist, its creation is crucial for the protection of our environment and environmental justice.

Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 14 – Life below water
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