The National Coalition for Marine Conservation (NCMC) is helping prepare a fishery management plan for the Cabo Pulmo Marine Park in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The waters off this tiny town are home to a variety of large pelagic fish and an extensive coral reef system in need of protection. The FMP could establish a template for managing migratory species that share U.S. waters. Cabo Pulmo is a peaceful, relatively pristine area located a few hours northeast of the southernmost tip of Baja California Sur. It is mainly desert, with mountains and beaches close by. About 5,000 tourists, mostly divers and sport fishers, pass through annually.
The Mexican government in June 1995 designated this marine park, an area 13 miles long, as one of three national parks in Baja. Cabo Pulmo, approximately halfway between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas on the Sea of Cortez, boasts the only living coral reef system in western North America and the only reef in the Sea of Cortez. The park contains over 200 species of tropical fish, including whale sharks.
For some years, the reef suffered damage because of commercial fishing, but recent efforts to keep these fishermen out are diminishing that threat. The reef is starting to come back. However, new large-scale development and the carelessness and ignorance of an increasing number of tourists present new threats.
For more information contact the NCMC, 3 N. King St., Leesburg, VA 20176.