Called the Galapagos of the North, the Parque Nacional Revillagigedo is a group of four small, volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, 240 miles southwest of Baja California and now North America’s largest marine protected area.
A small reserve with limited marine protections it has now been expanded by Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto to encompass a 57,000-square mile area, the size of Illinois. Last year the area was declared a UNESCO world heritage site. (photo – Sylvia Earle and Nieto at the creation of the park)
“With the goal of guaranteeing maximum protection of this World Heritage Site, our national legislation’s strongest conservation category will be used, and all forms of fishing will be prohibited,” said Alejandro Del Mazo Maza, of Mexico’s Commission of Protected Natural Areas.
The Parque Nacional Revillagigedo
On land the island’s new status bars mining and hotel construction, while offshore the Mexican Navy will conduct surveillance to prevent fishing in the protected waters.
Rich in Migratory Marine Life
The new marine park lies astride the convergence of two ocean currents and encompasses an area rich in migratory marine life, including tuna, sharks, whales and sea turtles. (photo – Michele Westmorland)
The park’s expansion was strongly criticized by Mexico’s commercial fishing industry since it affects about seven percent of the country’s Tuna fishing. However, conservationists point out, that the island’s new status will help over-fished populations to recover. This was proven in 1998 when Ecuador banned fishing in its Galapagos Marine Park, allowing increasing fish populations within the MPA, to spill over into areas that were open to commercial fishing.
Eventually this becomes a win-win situation where both the MPA and commercial fishing benefit. Read more at BBC.
Mexico has been much in the marine news lately, especially regarding the international efforts to save the endangered Vaquita porpoise in the Sea of Cortez. Not all of the news out of Mexico has been good, consequently the creation of the Parque Nacional Revillagigedo was very welcome.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
See These Related Blue Ocean Posts:
How To Get More Ocean-Hearted Intel Delivered To Your Inbox!
We believe ocean lovers can change the world. If you care about the health of the ocean and want to do something about it, then connect with the Blue Ocean tribe: Our growing community of ocean change-makers is turning ocean lovers into ocean leaders. It starts with you. Join us!