In a world where news is often dominated by negativity, there are a few shining examples where laws and legislations have begun to stem the damage humans are inflicting on the marine ecosystem. Numerous laws are passed every year in hope to sustain the ecosystem or protect swaths of the ocean. Here is one such success story.
Cabo Pulmo – Mexico
Baja California and the Gulf of California have long been considered an area of rich marine biodiversity. However, with a booming fishing and tourism culture fishermen have decimated the local marine flora population. From sharks to sea-lions, species are being laid to waste. Police were not enforcing decade old laws and the fishing industry collapsed.
Cabo Pulmo was one small village where the way of life was threatened and conflict soon broke out between local fishermen due to the lack of fish, because of their own greed. Only then did they decide to take action. The locals decided to enforce a marine protected area around their local reef. With the assistance of international marine biologists to helped lobby to the Mexican government they used local law of Mexican General Law for Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection. In 1995 they were successful.
A generic google search of diving images will show tornados of jacks massing around divers, this is the success story of Cabo Pulmo which astounded scientists. In just over a decade the marine protected area showed amazing dividends.
Fish biomass increased by 460%, and as well and macro life, marine mega fauna rebounded. Whale sharks, manta rays, and even whales returned to the area creating opportunities for local communities through eco-tourism. Divers especially flock from around the world to visit this world renowned site, dubbed the most ‘fish abundant’ dive in the world.
This Cabo Pulmo National Park success story validates how local leadership and strong community involvement can successfully use laws to protect resources such as their ocean neighbourhood.
There are thousands of ocean related conferences every year focusing on the protection of the worlds largest ecosystem, yet, while governments may protect large areas of the world or ban certain species from being trafficked, it is the small communities who when working together for a common goal that can achieve success long-term.