Mexican Government Creates Shark Sanctuary

Thanks to Gringo Gazette for the following:

 

Shark Park

The federal government has designated 40 square miles south east of the Baja peninsula as a shark sanctuary. It was being commercially fished, with only six miles around the four volcanic islands safe for the top of the food chain predators.

But researchers found that the big guys travel away from the islands as they cruise between the islands, and that’s when they’re vulnerable. These predators are necessary to keep marine life in balance. And to fuel Hollywood movies.

Here is a map of the newly protected area. The yellow dots represent sharks that have been tagged.

The Mexican Navy has agreed to patrol the safe area with boats and drones, while the Pew Charitable Trust will peek through satellites.

The sharks took it well, breathing a collective sigh of relief, and promising to stay within the new National Park.

Baja California Sur Bans Plastic Bags, Straws & Sytrofoam

Plastic Straw Pollution (image source: Waterways Charity Thames 21)

“New state law in Baja California Sur banning use of plastic bags, straws and styrofoam. In the following 12 months stores, restaurants and food venders will be given time to use the plastic they have and then after that it will be prohibited. In the following 18 months venders for plastic containers (plastic bags, straws, and styrofoam cups, plates, bowls) will be given to change for organic and compostable options now available in BCS and in general in Mexico. Basically, the government gives a certain time to vendors and clients to adjust to a now widely known fact: plastic kills our wildlife, pollute the marine and terrestrial wildlife we eat and over fills our limited land. The complete press bulletin in Spanish is attached. The attached pictures are from the young folks who made it possible in La Paz at the State Congress – the law was passed unanimously. In 34 years of living in BCS, I never thought I would see the day. I am so happy to see this time come! Every time that as a consumer you showed up with your own canvas bags, or your own container, or said “no straw please” – it made a measure difference. Thank you for helping us get here. Desplasticate = take plastic out of your life – is the state coalition of business that achieved this law.”

– Thanks to Cecilia Fisher for posting this on Facebook.

La parte sustantiva de la ley es:
“El Congreso del Estado aprobó por unanimidad una reforma a la Ley de Equilibrio Ecológico y Protección al Ambiente del Estado de Baja California Sur, mismo que establece la eliminación del uso de bolsas plásticas, contenedores de unicel (poliestireno expandido) y popotes plásticos.
Cabe mencionar que a partir de que la Ley entre en vigor se dará un lapso de 12 meses a supermercados, tiendas de autoservicio y conveniencia, mercados y restaurantes, para utilizar el producto con el que ya cuentan e ir desplazándolo por otras opciones. Mientras que los distribuidores de menudeo y mayoreo de dichos productos contarán con 18 meses”

From Above ….

One of the few luxuries of the short flight from Loreto to the States is to view the peninsula from great heights. The rugged expanse of the Baja terrain comes more clearly into focus, with shadows defining its craggy rock faces, narrow canyons, wide arroyos and spiny mountain ranges.

From above, except for the seasonal covering of green, the landscape appears barren – treeless – rough – yet stunning with its angular surfaces met on both sides of its narrow length by water.  On the west coast, the Pacific Ocean.  On the east, the Sea of Cortez. The seas moderate the temperature on the fringe coasts, while in the summer, the central spine steams under the summer sun, and in the winter, chills down to an occasional frost.

In the short expanse of 700 miles, the landscape encompasses arid scrub desert, dry lakes, creeks fed by waterfalls, inactive volcanoes and the piles left behind by their liquid lava activity… visible by highway travel, but from the air, more a palette of smooth surfaces vs jagged edges.

Since I travel both by auto and by plane, I love the opportunity to merge the images in my mind. To track Mex 1 far below from the air and to ponder places where I have camped and kayaked, creates a mind map of the terrain with personal overlays.

This broad and unpopulated expanse of landscape opens my mind and heart and clears the heavy weight of city responsibilities. I am so lucky to call this rugged this country my second home.

Mexico Does Cross Country Skiiing

(source: Gringo Gazette : newsletter@gringogazette.com)

Mexico Does Cross Country Skiing – German Madrazo

43-year-old German Madrazo, a cross country skier from Mexico, finished his event dead last but Madrazo was just happy finish at all and was greeted with cheers from the crowd and hugs from his fellow so called exotic skiers – athletes from countries that don’t have much, if any, snow. These guys aren’t there to win medals. They’re just there to compete.

Waving the Mexican flag, German was given a hero’s welcome as athletes lifted him up on their shoulders. His finish has made Madrazo an internet sensation. Not bad for a guy who hadn’t even been on skis until last year.

Soundings – Eco-Alianza Newsletter

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A 10-Year Celebration of Conservation

For those of you who were unable to attend the Gala last month, here is a link http://ecoalianzaloreto.org/10-years-of-eco-alianza-de-loreto-a-c-video/ to Eco-Alianza’s video, Ten Years of Conservation. The film was produced by volunteer Pepe Cheires, with amazing wildlife footage donated by Rick Jackson and Johnny Friday. Please feel free to SHARE the video with friends and family; it offers a great explanation of what Eco-Alianza is all about. Next month, we hope to distribute a version with subtitles in Spanish.

The film was shown at the Gala, at which we also discussed several new conservation initiatives, and expansion of environmental education and existing programs. We will report on those here in Soundings in the months to come. Enjoy the video, thank you for your steadfast support, and we look forward to your partnership and your ideas as we launch Eco-Alianza’s second decade of conservation!

Dr. Rebman Presentation Exhibits Passion for Plants

As part of the ongoing Visiting Scientist series, Dr. Jon Rebman spoke to a packed house on November 27 about “The Flora of Baja California Sur: Hot New Plant Discoveries and Cool Succulents.” The presentation, at Eco-Alianza’s CenCoMA headquarters, included dozens of beautiful slides, as well as stories detailing the wide variety of “pollination syndromes” that have evolved in Baja’s plants, as well as the incredible diversity in topography, microclimate, soil type, geology, and other factors that influence the survival of different plant species.

Click to read more:  http://ecoalianzaloreto.org/soundings-december-issue-2017/

Mexico creates vast new ocean reserve to protect ‘Galapagos of North America’

Fishing, mining and new hotels will be prohibited in the ‘biologically spectacular’ Revillagigedo archipelago

Finally a leader with the environmental intelligence to recognize the critical need to protect our ocean resources.  Thank you President Nieto.

Mexico’s government has created the largest ocean reserve in North America around a Pacific archipelago regarded as its crown jewel.

The measures will help ensure the conservation of marine creatures including whales, giant rays and turtles.

The protection zone spans 57,000 sq miles (150,000 sq km) around the Revillagigedo islands, which lie 242 miles (390 km) south-west of the Baja California peninsula.

Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, announced the decision in a decree that also bans mining and the construction of new hotels on the islands.

He said on Saturday that the decree reaffirmed the country’s “commitment to the preservation of the heritage of Mexico and the world”.

read more:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/25/mexico-creates-vast-new-ocean-reserve-to-protect-galapagos-of-north-america

Bold Efforts to save the Vaquita

A floating sea pen is anchored off the coast of San Felipe, Mexico where vaquitas will temporarily be held. Credit: Kerry Coughlin/National Marine Mammal Foundation

An international team of experts has gathered in San Felipe, Mexico at the request of the Mexican government (SEMARNAT) and has begun a bold, compassionate plan known as VaquitaCPR to save the endangered vaquita porpoise from extinction. The vaquita porpoise, also known as the ‘panda of the sea,’ is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Latest estimates by scientists who have been monitoring the vaquita for decades show there are fewer than 30 vaquitas left in the wild.  The vaquita only lives in the upper Gulf of California.

The project, which has been recommended by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), involves locating, rescuing and then temporarily relocating the vaquitas to an ocean sanctuary off the coast of San Felipe. The explicit goal of CPR is to return the vaquitas to their natural habitat once the primary threat to their survival has been eliminated. Experts from Mexico, the United States, Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom are all working together on VaquitaCPR.

“Rescuing these animals and placing them in a temporary sanctuary is necessary to protect them until their natural habitat can be made safe,” said Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, lead vaquita expert and chair of CIRVA. “We realize that capturing even a few vaquitas will be very difficult, but if we don’t try the vaquita will disappear from the planet forever.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-scientists-bold-effort-vaquita-porpoise.html#jCp