Saving the coral reefs of the Mexican Pacific

coral reef

Coral reefs are dying at an alarming rate around the world. If we continue acting as if nothing is happening, scientist estimate that all the corals will disappear in the next 100 years.

Coral reefs are under stress due to several factors including warming and acidifying oceans due to climate change, and direct human impacts such as boat anchors, pollution, unregulated tourism, and overfishing

WILDCOAST, in collaboration with the Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), is implementing a coral reef conservation program in seven protected areas in the Mexican Pacific, from the Gulf of California to Oaxaca. Places like Cabo Pulmo, Bahias de Huatulco, Isla Espiritu Santo, and Isla Isabel, each world renowned for their marine biodiversity, are the focus of this program.

To illustrate some of WILDCOAST’s work, during the first week of September, the WILDCOAST team, Ancla Marina, tourism outfitters, and CONANP installed ten anchorages for mooring buoys in Espiritu Santo National Park in the Gulf of California. Together they carried out a workshop in La Paz, Baja California Sur, on the installation and proper use of mooring buoys and exchanged experiences in visitor management in coral reef ecosystems.

Park rangers and tourist service providers from four protected areas participated in the workshop, including those from Espiritu Santo, as well as Huatulco, Cabo Pulmo, and Isla Isabel National Parks.

“The buoy experts trained us in the installation and use of mooring buoys systems in coral reef areas. Since some of the main causes of coral reef degradation across the Mexican Pacific is caused by boat anchors and undermanaged tourism, the installation of the buoys will greatly help to reduce damage to these reefs,” said Rebeca Melendez, WILDCOAST’s Coral Reef Program Coordinator. “The coral reefs of the Mexican Pacific are suffering less from coral bleaching than other areas around the world,” she continued. “Therefore it is critical we protect them from physical direct threats like boat anchoring.”

The workshop participants also exchanged experiences and evaluated visitor management strategies used in the different areas, including tools for marine species identification, and good diving and snorkeling practices.

Together with CONANP and local partners, WILDCOAST is creating wildlife and dive guides for Huatulco, Cabo Pulmo and Espiritu Santo National Parks that will be used to inform visitors on park regulations, wildlife, and best practices.

These projects are made possible thanks to support from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Fund, Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature, Adventure Travel Conservation Fund, and individual donors like yourself. If you have not yet donated to support our programs, please do so today. All donations are tax deductible.