The Yucatán Channel or Straits of Yucatán separates Cuba from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and links the Caribbean Sea with the Gulf of Mexico. The strait is 217 kilometres (135 mi) across between Cape Catoche in Mexico and Cape San Antonio in Cuba. It has a maximum depth near the Cuban coast of 2,779 metres (9,117 ft). Water flows through the Caribbean Sea from east to west.

As the water flowing through the Yucatán Channel enters the Gulf of Mexico, it passes over the Campeche Bank, a shallow area of sea. Here there are coral reefs on the outer fringes of the Yucatán shelf about 100 kilometres (62 mi) offshore. The main reef-building corals here are "Acropora cervicornis", "Acropora palmate" and "Montastraea annularis" and in the late 1990s many of these died. Some recolonisation has since taken place. The Campeche Bank is a biodiverse area and it and other parts of the Yucatán Channel are heavily fished by artisan fishermen who converge on the area from along the coast of Mexico. The area is threatened by over exploitation.

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