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    North Cays in Ciego de Ávila: what changes in its administration and management?

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    The Council of Ministers approved on October 24 the area called North Cays in Ciego de Ávila as an area with special regulations, of the type of economic development in the category of Territory of preferential tourist use, according to the prerogatives conferred by the Decree Law 331, Of the Zones with Special Regulations, in its article 11.

    Since last November 4, Agreement 9428/2022 of the highest government body in Cuba was published in the Official Gazette No. 109, and it specifies that the area in question includes the polygons of Guillermo, Coco and Antón Chico, Antón Grande, Romano and Paredón Grande Cays, and also includes the marine waters to the north and between the cays.

    • Consult the Official Gazette here

    The area's objectives are to develop tourist activity, linked to the vocation of sun, beach, nautical and nature with a sustainable, harmonious and planned approach, aimed at promoting the productive chain and the development of the municipality, raising the quality of life of its population, according to the Gazette.

    As part of the regulations, the regulations and prohibitions that natural and legal persons must comply with to carry out certain activities in this place were also established, of which the Minister of Tourism is responsible for their control and compliance.

    The Gazette adds that the Governor of the province is empowered to issue the procedure for requests for access to the area.

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    In general terms, the administration and management of the North Cays in Ciego de Ávila does not change much with the Agreement of the Council of Ministers. This area was already subject to regulations and restrictions. Invader lists some of them below:

    Provincial Scheme of Territorial Planning until 2030

    Resolution 111 of 2007 of the Ministry of the Fishing Industry

    Management Plan for Areas with Special Regulations in the type of High Environmental Significance and Historical-Cultural Importance.

    Decree-Law 201, of the National System of Protected Areas

    Resolution 122/10 - National Plan for Protected Areas

    What are the regulations and prohibitions of the new Special Regulations Zone of the North Cays in Ciego de Ávila?

    Among the regulations, the mandatory nature of a territorial order attached to the results of the studies of Danger, Vulnerabilities and Risks stands out, so that the effects of possible tropical cyclones are taken into account, as well as adaptation and mitigation to climate change.

    All activities promoted in the area must promote respect and conservation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and their attributes, and will be previously reconciled with the Administrator of the Area and the competent agencies, in accordance with current legislation.

    The Agreement also mandates the implementation, by the tourist entities that use the beach resource, in coordination with the competent authorities and entities, of a bathing water quality monitoring program that allows establishing measures to protect the health of bathers.

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    It will not be possible to build houses, with the exception of those related to golf and real estate development, motels for workers and houses intended for the accommodation of foreign specialists, linked to tourist activity, from basic means.

    Likewise, the construction of temporary camps for construction personnel, the installation of administration and care of protected areas, as well as the location of Security and Internal Order units, always in accordance with the specificities of the territorial order, are allowed.

    The regulations maintain access to nautical facilities subject to international regulations and current Cuban legislation. And it specifies that diving, nautical activities and guide services are only carried out by specialized entities and with the corresponding services.

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    In the North Cays area, the use of renewable energy sources and the rational management of water resources should be promoted, as well as the implementation of solutions for the management of residual waters and solid waste.

    Regulation number 21 (and last) establishes that: “Access to the Zone is limited only for tourist activities with prior reservation or authorization from the territorial government; workers of the Zone and authorized personnel”, something that does not change much the regime in force until the entry into force of the Agreement.


    The extraction of living organisms, mineral resources, geological samples and fossil remains, archaeological material, is prohibited, with the exception of those activities contemplated in the ordering and management plans, in addition to accredited and duly authorized scientific research.

    The bilge of boats, dumping of liquid and solid waste, as well as hazardous waste, in areas bordering the coast and near the coral reefs is also prohibited. Nor will it be possible to anchor with boat anchors or other similar in those areas.

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    Prohibition number Five limits the construction of new tourist facilities or those of another sector of the economy, "that do not have liquid waste treatment systems, in accordance with current regulations and technical standards, as well as those that do not comply with the established procedure in Decree 327, “Investment Process Regulations”, and all sectoral provisions associated with the implementation of this process”.

    Lastly, only recreational fishing for tourist purposes in the catch-and-release mode will be authorized, “as well as sport fishing in official events, which could be from the shore, provided that they are not carried out in the beach areas destined for bathers.