How Mexico’s Cabo Pulmo Is Paving the Way for Marine Conservation

by Owen James Burke

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Thousands upon thousands of bigeye jacks, now worth more dead than alive, swarm David Castro, whose father spearheaded the conservation project. Photo: Dr. Octavio Aburto Oropeza.

Two decades ago, the fishing industry–and ecosystem–of Baja, Mexico’s remote seaside village of Cabo Pulmo was on the verge of collapse. A local took initiative, scoured the oceanography world and grassroots activists (from near and far) to bring the bay back to what it once was.

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Screenshot from BBC Travel’s feature, “The most successful marine reserve in the world”.

Today, what we see is the oceans’, if not the world’s greatest habitat restoration and conservation stories. In just two decades, marine scientists estimate that marine species have rebounded by something like 400%. Snappers, groupers and sharks thought to be fished out and long gone have come back by the throngs, and things are only getting better.

In light of the success, Mexico has begun taking serious initiative in mapping out other endangered marine habitats, and may soon be protecting 10% of their waters.

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Screenshot from BBC Travel’s feature, “The most successful marine reserve in the world”. Watch the video here.

Read Scuttlefish contributor Dawn Pier’s story of Hope, Heartbreak and Hope. What I Learned from Directing an NGO in Mexico’s Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park. A Scuttlefish Feature. – OJB

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