Photo: bioluminescent bay on the island of Vieques
Puerto Rican authorities are limiting visits to a bioluminescent bay on the island of Vieques whose glow has been fading.
The Mosquito Bay park, a major tourist attraction, will be open to visitors just three days a week for at least two months as scientists try to determine the cause of the diminishing luminescence, the Department of Natural Resources said.
While studies are already in progress, no concrete answers have emerged, Mark Martin, of the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust, told Efe.
“We have data, but we will not offer a theory. This has shown itself to be a very charged issue and we prefer to wait for scientific results,” he said.
The team looking into the mystery includes Martin, personnel from Puerto Rico’s Environmental Quality Board, university professors and experts from the U.S. Geological Survey.
One tour company, East Island Excursions, stopped taking people to Mosquito Bay three months ago, manager Iris Gonzalez said.
“Due to the situation, we are investigating and reading about what happens. Because depending on the results, we will decide when we will return to bringing people (to the bay),” she told Efe.
“Many people want to see that lake,” Gonzalez said, but the glow is currently so faint that it is not worth making the trip.
The decision to restrict access is aimed at protecting “this extraordinary natural resource that is a tourist attraction at the global level,” Natural Resources Secretary Carmen Guerrero said.