A fragile coral reef off the coast of Mexico's Yucatán
Peninsula could take more than a century to recover from a thrashing by Hurricane Wilma last month, the government said Friday.
Mexico's National Protected Natural Areas Commission,
known as Conanp, said the storm's three-day rampage across the eastern region in late October damaged a 25-mile stretch of
delicate reefs off the island of Cozumel.
"The area was hit hard by the storm and it could take
at least 100 years for the reef to recover," Conanp regional director Alfredo Arellano said in a telephone interview from
the resort city of Cancún.
Cozumel's delicate coral gardens form part of an archipelago
of reefs stretching for hundreds of miles southward to the coast of Honduras, comprising the largest reef system in the hemisphere