Friday, September 12, 2008

Isla Guadalupe - Eco Tour "Bizzaro Land"

With the with the MX Navy at Isla Guadalupe now physically enforcing a ban on chumming at the islands North Bay, we're going take a moment to look at this situation in context.

One word comes to mind "unprecedented".

In the 25 year history of commercial shark diving worldwide no navy has ever effectively attempted to shut down sustainable shark diving operations.

Not in Australia, not in South Africa, not in the USA.

Simply put this is a first. The question that comes to mind is why?

Why would the MX Navy, PROFEPA, SEMERNAT and CONANP want to see chumming stopped, or do nothing to help, work with, or effectively direct a nascent $3.1 million dollar, multi vessel, cross border, eco tourism business within Mexico?

You might say "this is not their job", and you would be right. But these agencies all know that this Bio-Sphere is in desperate need of funding and infrastructure. They are also aware this site has a built in and thriving eco tour machine-based on sustainable shark diving.

Unprecedented yes, with worldwide implications as well. As we have been reporting there's a growing shift within the NGO community from World Wildlife Fund to Ocean Conservancy towards sustainable shark diving as a bridge solution to sustainable shark management. No where has this been demonstrated better than Guadalupe.

Isla Guadalupe, with it's extreme isolation from any human population, stable and seasonal white shark migrations, and ease of site shark research is a perfect test bed area to enable shark diving programs within Mexico. This site could, with some attention, proper management and funding become one of Mexico's undersea jewels.

One might argue this has happened already already.

Mexico, unfortunately, has a terrifically poor record of resource management as seen by a recent illegal 2.5 ton shark fin take at another Bio Sphere the Revillagigedos Archipelago. Anywhere you look Mexico's track record on the oceans shows a failure to support existing laws that quickly enable short term resource takes over the long term sustainable gain.

For Mexico to pull Navy vessels into Isla Guadalupe to essentially "guard" eco tour operators suggests that much larger forces are now involved at this site.

What their intentions are is anyone's guess at this time.

1 comment:

Ernesto said...

Thanks for staying on this issue guys no one else wants to touch it for selfish reasons it seems. I got off the phone with another operator last week and they still telling people there's no problem out there.

Clearly there's a problem!