Authorities have permanently implemented the Interinstitutional Inspection and Surveillance Operation at Los Arcos of the Bay of Banderas due to bad tourism practices and illegal fishing that have a negative impact on marine life in the area.
The program increases monitoring, inspecting, and verifying activities in and around the micro-system to ensure optimal conditions. Monitoring will be carried out the Navy Secretariats of Mexico (Semar), the Harbor Master’s Office, as well as Profepa.
The determination to implement permanent inspection and surveillance actions is due to the fact that Los Arcos is a site of high biological importance, of considerable beauty and, consequently, of great environmental fragility.
Bad tourism practices and illegal fishing affect the ecosystem, endangered species, and deteriorates the microsystem – about a square kilometer in size. It is still an area of influence of the Gulf of California (known as the Sea of Cortez) since the food sources that runs through its marine currents and the depths of the Bay of Banderas make possible the yearly migration of the humpback whales to the area.
The relationship between biodiversity and tourism is obvious; it must be developed without losing sight of the need to preserve the functional and structural integrity of the ecosystems, the natural vocation of the sites, and, especially, taking great care not to increase the tourism activities to levels that exceed the area capacity and are in opposition with its conservation.
Profepa determined that it will increase inspection and surveillance routes in the area, in response to complaints received about illegal fishing, since there have been chinchorros (fishing nets) of different dimensions, which have affected wildlife species, including those considered to be endangered.
There have been reports of endangered sea turtles, of the species Golfina (Lepidochelys olivacea), Prieta (Chelonia agassizi) and Verde (Chelonia mydas), which are also injured by the propellers of the motors by high-speed boats
The fishing activities and tourism services that are carried out, contrary to environmental legislation, affect ecosystems and put at risk the subsistence of marine flora and fauna.
In recent days, 90 vessels were inspected in the Refuge Zone for the Protection of Flora and Marine Fauna in Los Arcos of the Banderas Bay, with the purpose of verifying the accreditation for adventure tourism and diving. Three lacked accreditation, so their entry was denied.
With the implementation of permanent inspection and surveillance, the aim is to safeguard the integrity of marine life, in accordance with the provisions of the General Law of Wildlife, especially the marine specimens of the Bay of Banderas, listed in the Official Mexican Standard NOM- 059-SEMARNAT-2010.
In this area, there are emblematic species considered in the NOM, such as the Holocanthus passer (Angel King), Pomacanthus zonipectus (Angel Cortés), the Chromis limbaughi (Blue and Yellow Damsel, Castañeta Mexicana).
In birds it is frequent to see Sula neuboxii (blue footed booby); in reptiles, the Eretmochelys imbricata (Hawksbill Turtle) and the Lepidochelys olivacea (Olive Ridley) and in the family of mammals are the Megaptera novaeangliae (Humpback Whale), the Orcinus orca (Orca), the Stenella attenuata (Speckled Dolphin), the Stenella longirostris (Spinner Dolphin), the Tursiops truncatus (Bottle Nose Dolphin).
With these actions, PROFEPA strengthens its commitment to guarantee the conservation, protection and care of the environment; through inspection and surveillance activities, to verify compliance with environmental regulations applicable to Protected Natural Areas.
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