Mexico is turning the Islas Marías Biosphere Reserve into a fully protected marine area, completely banning fishing and all extractive activities in an effort to keep in pristine condition the few remaining healthy reefs in the Gulf of California.
“This newly protected area is an opportunity to secure the biodiversity of a pristine ecosystem and properly ensure its survival,” states Octavio Aburto, National Geographic Explorer and co-founder of Mares Mexicanos.
With the addition of the 6,413 square kilometers – four times the size of Mexico City – the UNESCO Islas Marías Biosphere Reserve covers, the National Geographic Pristine Seas project spans more than 6.5 square kilometers divided into 24 marine protected areas. The newly established no-take area is located between the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean. Declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2000, the archipelago made of four volcanic islands is only inhabited by a former penal colony. The rich nutrients found in the area allow marine life and endemic species to thrive.