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5 new marine reserves around the world

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The creation of several new land and marine reserves was announced on December 5 by the Mexican government — predominantly located on the Caribbean coast, Baja coast and deep ocean, they will cover more than 57,000 square kilometres and will be the country's largest natural protected areas.

President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a decree for four new reserves and five protected areas to be preserved by the Mexican federal government, totalling 23% of the country's waters.

The action means Mexico has exceeded the United Nations proposed plan of conserving at least 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020 ahead of schedule.

The Caribbean reserve is located on the east coast of the Yucatán peninsula and will cover vast amounts of the Quintana Roo coastline, as well as the municipalities of Benito Juarez, Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Bacalar, Tulum, Solidaridad and Othon P. Blanco.

The Pacific Islands Biosphere Reserve is off the west coast of the Baja peninsula and the Pacific Biosphere Reserve is an area of deep sea off the Pacific coastline. Approximately 500 species of fish and 86 species of coral inhabit these areas and mining and fishing activities will but excluded from more strictly protected core zones.

The announcement was made at the opening of the global biodiversity summit, COP13, which was held in Cancún. The new reserve areas bring the current protected areas in Mexico up to 300,000 square kilometres.

These areas of Mexico are becoming more popular destinations visited by celebrities and Quintana Roo is home to one of the best resorts to celebrate Christmas 2016, the Grand Velas Riviera Maya.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com / Leonardo Gonzalez

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