Climate change to submerge several Mexican islands

In the next 100 years, Mexico could lose 4.3% of its exclusive economic area
Photo courtesy of: CONACYT NEWS AGENCY
Mexico City
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Mexican researchers have estimated that Mexico is at risk of losing 4.3% of its Exclusive Economic Area (EEZ) due to the complete flooding of the Alacranes Reef and the Arenas Cay, caused by the extreme effects of climate change, according to the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT).

A study performed by the Island Ecology and Preservation Group (GECI) produced a hypothetical scenario in which events caused by climate change will lead to a 5-meter sea level increase in the next 100 years.

The director of the Scientific Analysis of the GECI, Evaristo Rojas, stated the project “Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Mexican Islands and Area of Influence” had the objective of identifying the impact climate change will have in the productivity of oceans, fisheries, and biodiversity of Mexican islands waters.

According to Rojas, a vital aspect of the study was the assessment of the legal implications the reduction of our EEZ by 4.3% would entail.

The EEZ is a sea zone extending 370.4 km from the shores of the Mexican continental territory and islands into the sea.

The study and research aim to offer data to Mexican legislators “considering the size of the EEZ could change and our laws aren't contemplating this reality.”

For this study, the GECI researchers divided the insular Mexican territory into four regions: North Pacific, Gulf of California, Tropical Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, analyzing different oceanic variables per each one of them.

Mexico has over 4,000 islands – including cays, reefs, and islets – which account for 813.299 hectares of the total national territory.

Regarding biodiversity, these islands gather 14 times more endemic species than the rest of the continental land.



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