Mexico creates vast marine reserve to boost habitat restoration program

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has established a new marine biosphere reserve covering a broad area that includes the Coronado Islands near the U.S. border and Todos Santos Island, site of a famed surfing spot off the coast of Ensenada.

The Pacific Islands Biosphere Reserve, formally established last week and located along the Baja California peninsula, is one of three new marine biosphere reserves decreed as Mexico hosted the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Cancun.

The reserve, operating under Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, “is a protected area that is already operating, the [opposite] of a paper park,” said Alfonso Aguirre Muñoz, director of the Ensenada-based Islands Conservation and Ecology Group.

The effort to restore the area’s marine bird habitat has involved private organizations and government agencies in the United States and Mexico, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the Audubon Society.

Note from Storm: I’m overjoyed to see this news, as my wife and I happened to be on vacation in lovely Baja California when this was announced. It’s our first time back here in two decades, and we’re happy to see that Mexico has designated Todos Santos (not Isla Todos Santos mentioned above, which is further north) a Pueblo Mágico (Magic Town), which is an excellent national program that’s sort of a hybrid of a community economic revitalization program with a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

Photo of surfing off Todos Santos Island by Claudia Boily via

See full Los Angeles Times article by Sandra Dibble.

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