Image: Espiritu Santo Island
Update 2018: The year the world took notice
A little over two years from the time SeaWatch kicked-off their "Espiritu Santo is Parte de ti" campaign (Espiritu Santo is Part of You), the very depleted Espiritu Santo National Park would be named one of the best managed protected areas in the world by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) the first ever such award in Mexico and only the second in all Latin America.
In addition, the citizen-driven vigilance program, ROC, created by SeaWatch and local supporters, was nominated by the Mexican government as one of the most important non-profit organizations for nature conservation in marine protected areas and formally recognized as a model non-profit conservation organization by the Mexican Senate.
Watch the video below to learn more.
Dave and Ina first met SeaWatch founder, Mike McGettigan and his wife, Sherry, in 1995, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. A visit to Dave's "favourite little fishing village" turned into 18 months living in Cabo, the beginning of GreenAngels and a lifetime of social and environmental responsibility.
Mike and Sherry lived on their 75-foot boat, the Amber III, by which they took free divers from all over the world diving and spear fishing around the Revillagigedo Islands and the Sea of Cortez. They owned a small resort on a hilltop, overlooking Cabo, where they housed their guests before taking them out to sea. Dave and Ina were very fortunate to spend many happy hours with them and got to know them well.
Mike, Sherry and other concerned citizens founded SeaWatch in 1993 in response to the rapidly declining fish populations in the Sea of Cortez due to illegal fishing and fishing methods. SeaWatch spearheaded the implementation of strict regulations to stop illegal activities such as the use of compressed air for fish extraction. And, in 2009, SeaWatch, working with local supporters, initiated citizen-driven vigilance to stop illegal fishing that was taking 20 tons of fish each night and day from the Bay of La Paz and harming the endangered and threatened marine species in the Sea of Cortez and throughout Mexico’s ocean. (Read the story of ROC here.)
A healthy, rocky reef in the Sea of Cortez.
A generation ago, SCUBA diving pioneer and underwater filmmaker Jacques Cousteau famously dubbed the Sea of Cortez “The World’s Aquarium.” He’s honoured with a larger-than-life bronze statue on the boardwalk in downtown La Paz, the capital of Baja, Mexico. Today, Cousteau might not recognize his beloved aquarium because now it is near the brink of collapse due to under-enforced regulations and severe overfishing. But, thanks to Mike and the tireless champions at SeaWatch, we are beginning to see a reversal of this harm and a restoration of the beauty and abundance in the Sea of Cortez.
Please click here to read more about this amazing organization.
Mike McGettigan, Sea Watch Founder, has been diving and fishing the Sea of Cortez for over 42 years. He has logged over 350,000 nautical miles in these waters. His activist history in the Sea of Cortez can be read here.
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