PARK BOUNDARIES MAP
The Loreto community is devoting itself to beautification and excitement this year in celebration of the tri-centennial, but is also pioneering a unique way of assisting the Mexican government in long-term management of their all important Sea of Cortés fishery. The local economy is heavily dependent upon both sport and commercial fishing. Success of this locally generated initiative will provide a landmark example for other communities to follow.
Due to the diligent efforts of the Loreto community, the National Loreto Marine Park was created by a Presidential Decree and approved by the Mexican Federal Congress in July, 1996. Creation of regulations from which to manage the park and support for that management was left to the people of Loreto to develop. That task has been taken on by the local ecological organization, Grupo Ecologista Antares (GEA). The prestigious United States based Nature Conservancy has been working closely with GEA to develop ways to support the unbudgeted, unstaffed Park Director appointed by SEMARNAP, the national environmental agency. That Director, Biologist Benito Bermudez Almada, will be housed in the Loreto area to take charge of the park's administration. He will be sponsored by the Nature Conservancy for university training in the United States on protected area management.
With Nature Conservancy assistance, which will include participation by several large international conservation groups, including Baja Life Magazine, an enforcement system to control illegal fishing will be developed. Ultimately, it is expected that trawlers will be excluded and gill net fishing will be restricted to a level that the fishery can maintain. The goal is to restore the Loreto fishery to the productivity levels of former times.
The first step to support Sr. Bermudez has been the establishment of the Loreto Marine Park Visitor's Center that will house a biologist and other GEA staff people. Perhaps the most important function of this center will be to develop displays depicting park resources, problems and necessary actions to restore the fishery. It will serve as a focal point for local people, particularly students, as well as interested tourists.
The Vagabundos del Mar Boat and Travel Club is committed to providing the rent of the building for the first year, working through the Nature Conservancy. Contributions made by Club members to the Chet Sherman Memorial Fund, following Chet's untimely passing last fall, will be used. In addition, the Club has matched contributions to the Fund, thereby doubling its size, and is seeking matching funds from foundations to further help restore fish populations through effective management of the Loreto Marine Park. Tax-deductible donations are being accepted by the Vagabundos del Mar, 190 Main Street, Rio Vista, CA 94571. Tel: 800-474-BAJA
Or you may contact them through their website at: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/VAGS/
Baja Life Magazine supports the protection and management of Loreto Marine Park. As a means to provide information to all interested parties, our staff at Baja Life Online has established and funded a website at: www.loreto.com/protect/ to continually update all our concerned readers of the progress being made to establish a long-term management program for the Sea of Cortés.
Please visit our site often and give us your valuable input.
Loreto Tourism Office