On February 27th 2016, the Mission Blue team was greeted by a dismal sight as we arrived at Bahia Los Frailes in Cabo Pulmo Marine Park: strewn across the beach were the hacked carcasses of approximately 20 sharks of several species. Sitting on the sand was a box full of shark fins, no doubt destined for Asian markets. The issue of shark fishing is complex, on both a conservation and social level. See it firsthand in the video below.
How can shark slaughter happen in a marine park that is purportedly “no-take”? Carlos Ramon Godinez Reyes, Director of the Cabo Pulmo Marine Park (CONANP), was with us and questioned the fishermen. They produced a permit and asserted that these sharks had been fished outside of the prohibited boundaries of the park. But how could this be verified? It couldn’t. The annual operating budget of the Cabo Pulmo Marine Park is roughly $20,000, according to Mr. Godinez Reyes, making comprehensive enforcement all the more challenging.
To learn more about the 2016 Cabo Pulmo Hope Spot Expedition, click here.
Background to this series of posts
Exciting news came out of the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC 3): Her Deepness Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue and IUCN launched 31 new Mission Blue Hope Spots — Marine Protected Areas — across the globe to massively scale up the level of marine protection that experts consider necessary for a sustainable future.
A Hope Spot is an area of ocean that merits special protection because of its wildlife and significant underwater habitats. Each Hope Spot can give the ocean a breathing space from human activities so that it may recover and flourish. Dr. Earle named these areas Hope Spots because they represent a real hope to restore the health of our imperiled ocean.
The 31 new announcements come in addition to the 19 Hope Spots that Mission Blue was already working to protect over the previous four years. Click on the thumbnail below to hear about Hope Spots straight from Sylvia.
When Dr. Earle won the TED Prize in 2009, she implored ocean supporters “to use all means at your disposal – films, the web, expeditions, new submarines, a campaign! – to ignite public support for a network of global marine protected areas, Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.” Click on the thumbnail below to hear the TED talk.
Read all the Voices posts in this series on Mission Blue Hope Spots
Keywords: Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue, IUCN, Mission Blue Hope Spots, marine protected areas, underwater habitats, TED Prize, oceans, Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, Gulf of California, sharks, shark fishing,