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March 31, 2011

WiLDCOAST Launches the Blue on Tour in Southern Mexico

By Serge Dedina

WiLDCOAST has partnered with the Blue Ocean Film Festival, the world’s greatest collection of ocean films, to carry out our message of coastal and marine conservation throughout Mexico. It was also a good opportunity to initiate our effort to develop WiLDCOAST chapters in Mexico. So on March 15th, Ben McCue, Natalia and Sergio Flores and myself launched the Blue on Tour in Acapulco. Over 350 people came to watch beautiful videos about whale sharks, coral reefs, sea turtles, the journey of a little girl to the beach and to listen to our conservation message.  At a press conference before we showed the films, Ben and I discussed the need to stop the practice of sea turtle egg and meat consumption. Natalia discussed the dire plight of sea turtles and sharks. Our event made Televisa’s national news broadcast in Mexico and was reported on by television, radio and print media in Acapulco.

During our next stop in the sleepy Pacific port of Zihuatanejo, students at the Technological Institute eagerly participated in a discussion on environmental issues in the region. Some had traveled from the nearby fishing village of Barra de Potosi where the Mexican Tourism Fund (FONATUR) informed the community that it plans to place Mexico’s next mega-resort and cruise ship terminal throughout one of the region’s largest mangrove lagoon and the home to nesting leatherback sea turtles.  Later at a press conference we denounced the plans to develop the project given the lack of demand for more mega-resorts in Mexico. A local government official who called us “liars” for stating that the project included a cruise ship terminal denounced our press conference. But since we were given the official plans to the project that includes an extensive cruise ship terminal, we were not concerned about justifying our claim.  

In the coastal villages of Troncones and Saladita, our presentations were in English and Spanish. In Troncones, the owner of a local restaurant organized the release of dozens of recently hatched Olive Ridley sea turtles with local and visiting children. In Saladit,a longtime WiLDCOAST supporters Cat Slatinsky and Kristy Murphy of Siren Surf Adventures hosted us. They organized a local talk to 60 residents and visitors. And we met with Pato, a local environmental activist who helps to promote organic agriculture in the area as a way of reducing watershed and coastal pollution as well as helping increase local incomes. Pesticide pollution is a significant threat to the sensitive coastal areas in the region.

Throughout the week we consistently heard that people wanted to be involved with WiLDCOAST and help to improve the communities and coastline. We were blown away by how people in the most urban and rural areas in Mexico view a clean environment as an important part of their quality of life. So the first stop on the Blue on Tour was a great success. Our next stop is Cabo San Lucas and the Cape Region of Baja California Sur. We hope to see you there.