The Fight to Save Cabo Pulmo Marine Reserve

Discussion in 'Environmental' started by Matt Rogers, Mar 11, 2012.

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  1. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

    Dec 31, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Last week a group of schoolchildren from 25 countries delivered a letter from the World Wildlife Fund to Mexican President Felipe Calderon with almost 13,000 signatures asking for protection of the Cabo Pulmo Marine Reserve from a plan to develop a mega resort similar to Cancun just 3 miles away from it. Here is to hoping that makes a difference. Keep reading to learn more about the very real threat to this marine park.

    A group of schoolchildren from 25 countries waved flags from all over the world as they delivered the petition to the president’s residence last week.
    Photo Credit: WWF

    It was only last August that we learned about the successful rebounding of fish in Cabo Pulmo by an astounding 460% in a 10 year analysis published in PLoS Journal.

    Located near the southern tip of Mexico's Baja peninsula, Cabo Pulmo was your typical heavily overfished and degraded reef like many others in the area. Then in 1995 strict rules were introduced and became successful largely thanks to enforcement by many locals.

    Today the reefs include many hard corals and sea fans. In fact, 11 of the 14 species of coral from the Sea of Cortez are found there now. Beyond the coral, the fish are plentiful with many large predators rarely seen elsewhere including sharks, tuna, sailfish, groupers and more.

    Yet a mere month after the Cabo Pulmo success story, a story circulated about a 2 billion dollar development that was all but signed by the Mexican government to build a massive Cancun development just 2 miles up the coast.

    This Cabo Cortes project proposed by Hansa Urbana, a Spanish development company, includes:

    "3 golf courses, a 490-slip marina, a jetport, 15 hotels and numerous condos, equivalent to 30,692 hotel rooms or 10,230 three-bedroom condos or houses" and construction "extending over three or four decades."

    This proposal gutted me.

    For a while the best news we had was that the developer Hansa Urbana suffered badly in Europe's financial crisis last year. Coupled with over-developing in Spain, Hansa Urbana was largely acquired by Banco Sabadell. In addition, tough additional environment laws that were tacked on in to the Cabo Cortes project in 2011 that would "take years" for the developers to meet. Ultimately, these events could save Cabo Pulmo as they may have to scuttle their plans in Mexico as a result.

    I have kept in contact with Alejandro Olivera, the Campaign Director of Oceans and Coasts for Greenpeace Mexico regarding Cabo Pulmo. Alejandro is certainly doing his part to keep this story alive and to sway public opinion. Alejandro just sailed to Cabo Pulmo with members of the Clipperton Project last week and held a press conference that reps from TV Azteca, AFP, Nat Geo Channel and The Wall Street Journal attended.

    Greenpeace y Clipperton, juntos por Cabo Pulmo | Greenpeace México
    The Clipperton Project

    Thanks to the recent efforts of the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace Mexico and Alejandro, the fight to save the Cabo Pulmo Marine Reserve is alive and becoming increasingly in the public eye.

    It was the local people that brought the reefs around Cabo Pulmo back to health against incredible odds and it appears it will take the will of the people to save Cabo Pulmo once again.

    I hope they do.


    WWF - Voices of WWF Supporters Reach Mexican President in Effort to Save Cabo Pulmo -

    Calls mount to cancel resort near Mexican reef

    Océanos y costas | Greenpeace México

    Cabo Pulmo on 3reef:

    A blotchy Gulf grouper measuring over three feet long lurks in reefs in Cabo Pulmo National Park in the Sea of Cortez. | Octavio Aburto-Oropeza/iLCP/MCT

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012