Mexican authorities have levied a $555,000 fine for environmental violations against a project to build a massive trade center south of Cancun to showcase Chinese products.

The Attorney General for Environmental Protection said the fine was for building roads through wetlands and affecting coastal ecosystems without authorization.

The office said the project known as "Dragon Mart" did not wait for authorization of environmental impact statements for the work.

It was unclear whether work on the project just south of Cancun could be closed, because the case is still before the courts.

Environmentalists said Friday the fines were a positive step, but called for the project to be halted or scaled down.

Activist Rosa Elisa Rodriguez of the United Voice for Puerto Morelos group called the fines "a first step."