Huge Boost in Fish Numbers in Cabo Pulmo National Park

WWFPhoto: Octavio Aburto-Oropeza/iLCP

There’s been an amazing reversal of fortune for an undersea wildlife park off the tip of Mexico in Baha, California, according to a press release from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The number of marine species in Cabo Pulmo National Park (CPNP) rocketed by 460% between 1999 and 2009. Much of the credit for this terrific change goes to locals, who have ensured adherence to the park’s ‘no take’ law.

WWFPhoto: Octavio Aburto-Oropeza/iLCP

“We could have never dreamt of such an extraordinary recovery of marine life at Cabo Pulmo,” said National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala, who began the study in the late Nineties. “In 1999 there were only medium-sized fishes, but ten years later it’s full of large parrotfish, groupers, snappers and even sharks.”

WWFPhoto: Octavio Aburto-Oropeza/iLCP

The CPNP’s recovery has helped the local economy, with ecotourism businesses springing up involving activities such as diving, kayaking and snorkeling. “The reefs are full of hard corals and sea fans, creating an amazing habitat for lobsters, octopuses, rays and small fish,” said Brad Erisman, a Scripps postdoctoral researcher and co-author of the study. “During some seasons thousands of mobula rays congregate inside the park and swim above the reef in a magnificent way.” This shows what can be done when science, locals and businesses all work together to protect marine species.

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