On June 15 2012 Mexican President Felipe Calderón announced the cancellation of the proposed Cabo Cortes tourist resort that was threatening to devastate the staggering marine life in the Cabo Pulmo national park. The announcement also supports members of the local community who depend on the future of the marine park to sustain local community fisheries. As world leaders gather for the RIO+20 Earth Summit, this announcement is a major victory for ocean conservation.
Cabo Pulmo National Park, located in Mexico, is among the most successful marine protected areas in the world. It is now under threat from a proposal for massive tourist development in an undeveloped stretch of the Gulf of California.
Permits have already been issued to develop thousands of hotel rooms and condos, marinas and multiple golf courses. The development of this land will be devastating for reefs, fish and other species that call Cabo Pulmo National Park home.
Why is Cabo Pulmo so important?
This area has a spectacular reef system and is a critical reproduction, feeding and breeding area for at least 6,000 species.
Cabo Pulmo also showcases a clear example of how conservation efforts can provide benefits to people and species and their habitats. People living around the park established it in 1995. They realized the importance of protecting fish and enforced specific restrictions to stop the depletion of fish populations.
The positive effects are clear because a study found unprecedented fish recovery in the reserve. More than a 460 percent increase in fish occurred from 1999 to 2009.
The proposed development will be environmentally damaging to the ecosystems that attract tourists to the Gulf of California and provide livelihoods to local communities.
WWF’s work in the region
WWF works to help establish ecotourism models that are sensitive to:
- marine-coastal systems
- local environmental and socio-economic conditions
This work will contribute to the preservation of the Gulf of California’s natural capital and the communities this coastal area supports.