A few days after our dive near Espíritu Santo - where we sent a message to the Mexican government: "Marine Reserves now!" - the decree was finally signed and the area will now be protected. This marks the end of a 2.5 year long process, and brings us one small step closer to our goal: a global network of marine reserves.
Diving with the sea lions near Espíritu Santo. The Esperanza is currently sailing the Gulf of Californa as a part of the Ocean Defenders expedition.
Among the many marine treasures found in the Espiritu Santo
Archipelago are a colony of sea lions, five species of endangered
sea turtles, and a migration route of hammerhead sharks.
The Gulf of California has more than thirty
species of marine mammals including the endangered vaquita
, one of many endemic species in this region (vaquita means
"little cow" in Spanish). Unfortunately fishing is still allowed in
the vaquita area, and every year vaquitas die as bycatch. There is
an estimated number of less than 500 vaquitas left.
The Gulf of California was named the "World's Aquarium" by
Jacques Cousteau because of its rich marine life. The area is now
threatened by pollution, over fishing and uncontrolled tourism
The Gulf is of great economic importance for the whole of
Mexico, providing half of the country's fish supply. Marine
reserves would help protect and sustain the life and productivity
of the sea, supporting the regions fisheries, and benefiting the
local communities. Recent studies show that marine reserves help
increase the number and diversity of species, as well as the size
of the animals.
So far, things are looking good on paper for Espíritu Santo. But
to make this new marine reserve a reality legislation must be put
in place, and enforcement is required to see to that these laws are
For details of the other areas that we are calling
to be protected, have a look at
the report that we launched at the start of our tour in
The Gulf of California - see map and learn
Read the Esperanza weblog
Updates straight from the ship in the World's Aquarium
Pictures from our journey so far