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 In the 1960s, oil development settled on Isla Lobos, although infrastructure was recently withdrawn and activities were abandoned.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
A little history
In prehispanic times the area surrounding Lobos Island was inhabited by the Huastecs and in the 12th century Tamiahua, "place of a lot of water", was the capital of the Huastec empire.
In 1516 the first Spanish caravels arrived exploring the River Pánuco, under the command of Captain Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, who after paying for the bosom of the Mexican Gulf was interned in the Tuxpan River. Also during those years Juan de Grijalva explored the Huasteca and the rivers of Cazones and Tuxpan.
Later in 1522 Hernán Cortés conquered the Huasteca with the support of Gonzalo de Sandoval so from the end of the first decade of the 17th century
English, French and Dutch ships were on the lookout for Spanish ships, which at the least carelessness disembarked in unguarded ports, such as Tuxpan, then called Tabuco, for which Isla Lobos was a haunt for pirates and corsairs, as well as a place of shelter for merchant ships that ventured to navigate the route along the Gulf of Mexico
In 1829, after the entrance of the Trigarante Army to Mexico City, Spain tried to reconquer our country, so it organized an expedition under the command of Don Isidro Barradas, commanded by 4,000 men, who left Havana, Cuba, using the Isla Lobos as a meeting place for the boats.
The month of February of 1847 American ships anchored in Isla Lobos; On April 13, said ships attacked the port of Tuxpan, which was defended by 600 men under the command of General Coos, who did not receive reinforcements and surrendered on April 17, when the population was occupied by US forces
In 1963, with the drilling of the Isla Lobos oil well and then the Middle Reef, the existence of the deposit was verified, which gave rise to the Gold Belt Marina, building a navigation channel on the island to grant access to vessels that allowed to operate and maintaining oil wells, a work that caused severe damage to the reef ecosystem.