Unchecked growth seen as risk to reserve


Cabo Pulmo National Park, a prized marine reserve. (Photo by Leonardo González)

Almost 25 years ago, the fishermen of Cabo Pulmo, a small village on the Gulf of California, packed up their nets and asked the Mexican government to declare the coral reef off their coast a protected area. The move proved successful beyond anyone’s expectations. Within a decade, the abundance and diversity of fish in the reserve recovered more quickly than anywhere in the world, scientists say.  The fishing ban worked to the benefit of the fishermen too. Remaking themselves as guides, they found that there was more money in showing off the reef’s swirling schools of groupers, snappers and jacks than in catching them. But the protection granted to the sea was never matched by a defense of the land. The stark desert landscape, looking out over empty beaches and a limpid sea, offers a tantalizing prospect to developers.  When the transition to a new presidential administration last... [Log in to read more]

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