Impact Feature: Cabo Pulmo National Park
20,000-year-old reefs once left for dead are now designated as a Hope Spot, teeming with electric-colored coral and fish.
Sixty-two miles north of Cabo San Lucas on the east coast of Baja California, lays one of the great Hope Spots of the World. Over the course of 20,000 years its reefs evolved to become home to hundreds of species of multi-colored corals and fish. In 1951, the American author John Steinbeck wrote in his Log from the Sea of Cortez, “One small piece of coral might conceal 30-40 species amid electric colors of life”.
By the 1990’s, overfishing and neglect had almost destroyed the reef, and the Castro family of Cabo Pulmo--who have made their living off the sea for 100 years--decided to do something about it. They lobbied the Mexican government, organized locals, and got support from ocean organizations to protect the reef and its fish.
After 14 years of protection and care, every group of fish had returned: it’s now a refuge for the endangered species of large gulf grouper that can grow to 800 pounds, and home to massive rays, humpback whales, sea turtles, and sharks. Cabo Pulmo became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005 and was recently named a Hope Spot by the great marine biologist and explorer, Sylvia Earle.
Stay tuned for more from Cabo Pulmo on ziggie.