An impressive marine reserve has just been created by the Mexican government. The reserve surrounds a group of islands inhabited by hundreds of species of marine life and the government has imposed a complete ban on fishing, meaning it will be illegal for whales, sea turtles, and rays to be caught.
Off the south-east coast of Mexico, a group of volcanic islands called The Revillagigedo Archipelago is located, consisting of San Benedicto, Socorro, Roca Partida, and Clarion. There are hundreds of beautiful species which use this area to breed, however, fishing is taking a big toll on the natural lifecycle of inhabitants.
According to the BBC, “The area, which is about 250 miles (400km) south-east of the country’s Baja California peninsula has been described as the Galapagos of North America, because of its volcanic nature and unique ecology.” Additionally, the area is between two converging ocean currents, meaning many species migrate through the open water.
This new zone is now the largest North American ocean reserve, spanning an impressive 57,000 square miles (150,000km). The navy will even be patrolling the vast area, which was made a UNESCO world heritage area in 2016.
Chile has a similar marine reserve created two years, even larger than Mexico’s.
Commercial fishing operations have decimated and damaged much of the ocean life in this part of the world, and the ban is intended to help populations regrow to a healthy, and natural state.
Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto signed a decree to make this expanse an official marine reserve park – not only forbidding fishing but also forbidding the extraction of any natural resources or building new infrastructure.
WWF’s director of conversation, María José Villanueva said this effort is an “important precedent“, for not only Mexico but other countries too.
While some may be concerned about how this ban will impact the commercial fishing industries, studies show that consumer demand for fish is ever-decreasing and now that vegan-friendly, lab-grown fish is being explored as an alternative, fish could be swimming their way out of the food system for good.