The following videos show the barren reefs around the lower gulf Islands in the Sea of Cortes and explain what happened. These short video’s show you how barren the reefs are and why. A large part to the destruction has been caused by Pistoleros and Encerradores. Since the reef cleaning grazers, parrot fish and surgeon fish have been eliminated the reefs around La Paz are no more than dirty algae covered rocks with no soft corals and no fish.
The reefs are without fish in general and in particular the two critical fish needed for healthy reefs, Parrot fish and Surgeon fish that eat the algae and in the process scrape off the dirt that covers the rocks. The main reason the reefs are without fish is due to two types of illegal fishing: pistoleros and encerradores. See the video below to really understand the damage they have done. It started in the mid 1990’s.
These practices are now illegal as a result of a new regulation recently published in DOF (Diario Oficial). The new regulation added in norma 064 bans Nationally the use of hookah and any form of compressed air for fish extraction. Sea Watch, Director and attorney Maria Ugarte, in 2009 sponsored and got a new federal regulation in Norma 064 passed prohibiting the use of hookah or any source of compressed air for fish extraction. While in effect since 2009 in BCS it took the Federal Government until Feb. 2015 to publish it in the DOF. No compressed air for fish extraction
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.