The Revillagigedo archipelago, located 242 miles southwest of the Baja peninsula, is now home to the largest ocean reserve in North America! The reserve spans 57,000 square miles around the Revillagigedo Islands. The archipelago is home to a diverse ecosystem that supports 400 species of fishes, sharks and rays.
Called the “Galapagos of North America,” this region is now protected from commercial activities, including fishing, mining and the construction of new hotels on the islands. Previously, the area was open to commercial fishing, but such activities depleted populations of fishes such as tuna and sierra. It is the hope of governing bodies that these new protections will allow for those species to rebound, while also letting others flourish.
In this latest conservation effort, Mexico joins Chile, New Zealand and Tahiti in the preservation of the ecological systems in their territorial waters.
The ocean covers more than 70 percent of the planet, and yet, less than 5 percent of the ocean is protected. Protected marine areas, such as the newly designated ocean reserve in Mexico, help correct this imbalance, setting aside special areas to allow for ocean resiliency and regeneration of resources important for ecosystem and economic health.
In his recent lecture at the National Aquarium, Dr. Enric Sala discussed the importance of protecting ocean places such as the Revillagigedo archipelago. You can watch his full lecture here!