- Date: June 19, 2012
An ocean victory was declared on June 15, 2012 when Mexican President Felipe Calderón announced his decision to cancel the development permit for the Cabo Cortes mega tourist development. This development would have threatened the future of Cabo Pulmo Marine Park and the livelihoods of the local community.
The Cabo Pulmo reserve is considered to be one of the most successful marine protected areas in the world and is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. The proposed development—with thousands of hotel rooms and condos, multiple marinas and golf courses—would have devastated the same ecosystems that attract tourists to the Gulf of California.
The decision is significant for the members of the local community who established the marine park in 1995 to sustain their fisheries business. Since the reserve was established fish populations have increased more than 460 percent. Local communities have also found economic opportunities in the ecotourism industry.
WWF and Ocean Conservation
WWF applauds the President’s commitment to the sustainability of the country’s natural resources and the well-being of its people. In March 2012, WWF gave Mexico’s President a petition containing the signatures of nearly 13,000 people from around the world. The petition expressed concern about the conservation of Cabo Pulmo’s reef and asked for the cancellation of the development. This call to action was heard loud and clear.
The announcement is a major victory for ocean conservation especially as world leaders gather for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, RIO+20. WWF supports the President’s decision and is ready to work with the government, the private sector and local communities to develop a sustainable national tourism model. This model will promote the social and economic well-being of the country and protect its natural treasures at the same time.