The fisheries at Espiritu Santo Island and Los Islotes continue under daily assault by both commercial and sportsfishermen. Check out the posts below and you will see that without Vigilance (evenings and at night) the park including Los Islotes which is the number one tourism attraction and only reason to come to La Paz to dive will continue to die.
Los Islotes nuclear zone under daily assault, the premier diving area around La Paz is under almost daily assault from yacht tenders and pangas that fish and spearfish there at dusk after others have gone. Private fishing ground for tenders from mainland yachts
Commercial Encerradores: are there on a daily basis using hookah to kill reef fish especailly Cardinales. Encerradores – Why the cardinales are gone
Commercial Pistoleros: There are still pistoleros (night time hookah divers using Hawaiian slings) working in the Isla Espiritu Santo Marine park but less often because there are so few fish left. The damage they have done over the last 15 years can be seen in the following videos. Barren Reefs
Commercial fishermen fish the nuclear zone at Los Islotes. Even though a Denuncia was filed immediately with Profepa nothing was ever done about it. Commercial boats fishing in the Los Islotes nuclear zone
Sports fishermen often start their day fishing in the nuclear zone at Punta Bananza. We often see 1-5 boats stopping there to fish first thing in the morning. Sports boat fish Punta Bananza nuclear zone.
The end result is that fish are not coming back in the marine reserve. There are very few cardinales as a result of the encerradores, the large pargo a favorite target of spearfishermen have seen a 80% 90% drop in numbers at Islotes since 2011 when night time vigilance stopped. See this video taken in October 2011 and now look out there, the once abundant pargo are almost gone. With vigilance Pargo populations returned in 2011
Without vigilance the marine park at Espiritu Santo will continue to die. There are two groups working on vigilance there now. OC and Conanp. Neither is effective. Conanp has been cut back and has only 140 liters of gasoline each week to patrol the Islands. That allows them one trip around the island each week. OC over the last 4 years has lost all its gains and has been spending about 3 days a month patrolling the Islands. OC is perfectly staged and equipped to start patrolling 3-5 days a week in the evenings and during the night when most of the illegal activities occur. That’s what they were originally set up to do. The user groups that make their money from diving and tourism should all be putting money (10 to 20 dollars per day or trip) into VIGILANCE.
How you can help
There are several ways that you can help us to secure a healthy future for the Espiritu Santo Archipelago.
Think about what you consume from the ocean
In particular, consider avoiding species of fishes that directly maintain the health of the reefs by grazing on algae while keeping it in natural balance with the ecosystem. These include parrotfish and surgeon fish.
Report any illegal or suspicious activities
Ecotourism captains and guides and general boaters are a great tool in the fight against illegal fishing practices. If you encounter any activities that you believe to be illegal or suspicious, try to obtain photographic and/or video evidence of the acts. Attempt to capture recognizible landmarks in the frame so there is no doubt as to where the activities were observed and also record the GPS coordinates. You can send the information to RED Observatorio Ciudadano or to us here at Sea Watch and we will ensure it goes through the proper channels.
Donate to our cause
By donating to Sea Watch, you can directly contribute to the great awareness work of Espiritu Santo es Parte de Ti or the highly effective vigilance efforts of RED Observatorio Ciudadano. You can donate by credit/debit card, Paypal or by sending a cheque to our registered mailing address. Visit our donate page for more details by clicking the donate button.