Isla Lobos, Veracruz, A Very Special Site

Located on the northern coast of the state of Veracruz, the Lobos-Tuxpan Arrecifal System Flora and Fauna Protection Area includes seven coral reefs that are between 1 and 30 meters deep. The Lobos-Tuxpan Arrecifal System has been developed in an environment that is not typical for coral reefs. The discharges of the Tuxpan River and the Tamiahua Lagoon frequently cloud the reef waters, while the water temperature can reach 30 ° C in the summer and 17 ° C in some weeks of winter. Through the millennia these seasonal changes in the environment have been shaping the entire ecosystem, giving it very particular characteristics, selecting the hundreds of species and their lineages that are assembled there to form complex plots. The stony corals constitute the dominant benthic fauna, in which colonies that may have several hundred years of growth stand out.
The multicolored fish move in its waters, while others take refuge in the complex habitats of the bottom, and in the summer the snails arrive at the reef to leave the packages of eggs that seek to guarantee the new generations.

The reef system is very linked to society. In the 1960s, oil development settled on Isla Lobos, although infrastructure was recently withdrawn and activities were abandoned. Artisanal fishing has significantly reduced populations of fish, crustaceans and molluscs of economic value. An irreparable loss occurred on an unknown date was the disappearance of the monk seal of the Caribbean (Monachus tropicalis), which inhabited and gave name to Isla Lobos. In that same place, a diver named Ramón Bravo changed the harpoon for a camera, initiating with it a transformation in the attitude of at least three generations of Mexicans who now see the sea with increasing concern.

Francisco Javier Martos Fernández
Biological Sciences Faculty
and Farming
Veracruz University


A little history