Underwater Cave Survey in Quintana Roo Mexico Quintana Roo Speleological Survey


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Cave Conservation

last updated 01 December, 2002

We believe that all persons who choose to enter a cave accept the highest measure of responsibility. Every attempt must be made not to damage or disturb the cave entrance environment, sediments, stone formations, archaeological sites, or biological life associated with the cave environment.  Expert and novice cavers must expend every effort to control their actions while exploring a cave in order to preserve this natural resource for future generations.

The Quintana Roo Speleological Survey (QRSS) recognizes that diving in the underwater caves of Quintana Roo is a rare privilege and not a right. We acknowledge that permission to dive in these caves is an opportunity extended by the landowner. This opportunity can and will be revoked at any time should cave divers abuse this privilege by witless or unlawful actions. Consider your actions to be exemplary of all cavers and visitors to Quintana Roo. 

  • Every cave diver has an obligation to:

    • Be trained in cave diving and dive within the limits of their training, thereby avoiding damage to a cave or preventing accidents.

    • Be deliberate in the cave environment; these caves are easily damaged by poor diving techniques. There is no excuse for aggressive behavior with stage bottles or underwater propulsion units that might compromise the cave environment.

    • Be entirely responsible for the proper disposal of litter and waste matter, notably potential groundwater pollutants.

    • Be courteous to your hosts while respecting their wishes and culture.

  • Every cave and cavern diver instructor or guide has a far greater obligation to:

    • Alert, instruct, and supervise their clients to insure their customers dive within conservative limits of their training.

    • Alert, instruct, and supervise their clients to insure their actions do not cause inadvertent damage to the cave or its surrounding environment.

    • Alert, instruct, and supervise their clients to emphasize their responsibility in the proper disposal of litter and waste matter.

    • Conduct themselves as a role model in a polite and respectful manner towards their hosts.

Additionally, the QRSS is committed to biological and groundwater sciences. It is understood that the submerged cave environment is extremely fragile, providing a habitat for a wide variety of organisms whose life histories and interactions with one another are little understood. These animals inhabit the complete spectrum of the underwater cave environment; vertebrate, invertebrate and microorganism species pervade most every cave sediment and water layer.

  • Please resist the temptation to collect biological life unless you are under direct supervision of a biospeleologist.        

    • It is very destructive to the environment, while further threatening tenuous populations of Stygobionts.

    • Unsupervised collections often produce worthless samples.

    • Collections of microbes introduces these animals into areas of underwater caves that are traditionally free of their presence.

    • If you do not have a biological collection permit from the Mexican Federal Government, it is illegal to harvest biological samples.

All cave divers must take responsibility for their actions as a courtesy towards cave dwelling life. We applaud any safe method by trained cave divers in preventing further incursions of predatory open water cenote fish (ie. Astyanax mexicanus, the Mexican Tetra) into the underwater cave environment. This species of Tetra has decimated blind fish and invertebrate Crustacean populations in the Carwash, Sac Actun, and Naranjal caves. Please go here if you are concerned about this growing problem.

Updates and corrections are welcome: chac<at>consolidated.net

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