Skip to content

Score One for Nature!

Finally, some great news about Nature!

While there are still a lot of fish in the Sea of Cortez, there are no longer the number or variety there was just 20 years ago, when the Sea was absolutely alive. Blame it on the 50,000+ hooks put into the Sea each night. But there is more than just hope.

The biomass in Cabo Pulmo has grown exponentially over the past 10 years.

© Octavio Aburto / Gulf Program

In ’95, the Cabo Pulmo area of southeastern Baja was all but depleted. For some reason, the locals then had the foresight to put in place — and enforce — a "no take" policy on what is now the 71-square kilometer Cabo Pulmo National Park.

Four years later, researchers from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, dove on the site. They found a few medium-sized fish, but not much else. Not very encouraging.

But when they returned 10 years later, in ’09, they found Cabo Pulmo to be an entirely different place. "They were surprised to see that the fish biomass at the park had increased to 463 percent, and the biomass of top predators and carnivores increased by 11 and 4 times, respectively. Researchers found thousands of large fishes, such as snappers, groupers, trevally, manta rays, and even sharks."

Cabo Pulmo Marine Reserve from Gulf Program on Vimeo.

Experts claim that no other reserve in the world has shown such a vibrant recovery! Unfortunately, the fish biomass in other areas in the Sea of Cortez did not change for the better over the same period of time.

According to the researchers, the two keys to the revival of the Cabo Pulmo area have been the protection of spawning area for large predators, and local enforcement of "no taking" from the park. Determined local familes are given credit for the latter.

All sorts of species, including top predators such as sharks, are thriving in the “no take” refuge.

© Octavio Aburto / Gulf Program

The most hopeful thing is that, according to a conclusion of the researchers, "fish communities at a depleted site can recover up to a level comparable to remote, pristine sites that have never been fished by humans, especially in a large area like Cabo Pulmo."

Way to go, Pulmo!

Leave a Comment

We love it when parents instill good taste in their kids, as Ventura’s Mark and Laurie Matthews have done with their newest crewmember.
Emirates Team New Zealand does a fly-by to celebrate winning a tricky final fleet race at the America’s Cup World Series Cascais.