MEXICO CITY - Mexico’s government has created a marine park the size of Illinois in the Pacific, the largest ocean reserve in North America for the conservation of
giant rays, whales and turtles, including dozens of species
endemic to the area.
Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto designated on Friday
the Revillagigedo Archipelago, located some 390 km (242 miles)
southeast of the Baja California peninsula, as a national park.
The four volcanic islands that make up the Revillagigedo
Archipelago and the surrounding waters are home to hundreds of
species of animals and plants, including rays, humpback whales,
sea turtles, lizards and migratory birds.
The archipelago is sometimes known as the Galapagos of North
America, in reference to the volcanic Ecuadorean islands whose
abundance of endemic species inspired biologist Charles Darwin.
All fishing prohibited
The 148,000 square kilometers (57,143 square miles) area is
a breeding ground for commercially fished species such as tuna
and sierra. Now all fishing activities will be prohibited, as well as
the construction of hotel infrastructure on the islands.
The Environment Ministry and Navy “will carry out
surveillance, equipment and training activities that will
include remote monitoring in real time, environmental education
directed at fishermen and sanctions against offenders,” said
The creation of the marine park is expected to help recover
fish populations hit hard by commercial fishing and was praised
by the World Wildlife Fund and British billionaire Richard