Mexico Creates Marine Reserve Around Islands Called ‘Galapagos of North America’

Mexico’s government has created a marine park the size of Illinois in the Pacific, the largest ocean reserve in North America for the conservation of

giant rays, whales and turtles, including dozens of species

endemic to the area.

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto designated on Friday

the Revillagigedo Archipelago, located some 390 km (242 miles)

southeast of the Baja California peninsula, as a national park.

The four volcanic islands that make up the Revillagigedo

Archipelago and the surrounding waters are home to hundreds of

species of animals and plants, including rays, humpback whales,

sea turtles, lizards and migratory birds.

The archipelago is sometimes known as the Galapagos of North

America, in reference to the volcanic Ecuadorean islands whose

abundance of endemic species inspired biologist Charles Darwin.

All fishing prohibited

The 148,000 square kilometers (57,143 square miles) area is

a breeding ground for commercially fished species such as tuna

and sierra. Now all fishing activities will be prohibited, as well as

the construction of hotel infrastructure on the islands.

The Environment Ministry and Navy “will carry out

surveillance, equipment and training activities that will

include remote monitoring in real time, environmental education

directed at fishermen and sanctions against offenders,” said

Pena Nieto.

The creation of the marine park is expected to help recover

fish populations hit hard by commercial fishing and was praised

by the World Wildlife Fund and British billionaire Richard

Branson.

 

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