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July 05, 2012

WiLDCOAST Achieves Conservation of 296 Miles of Shoreline in Mexico in Partnership with Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP)

Through Innovative Conservation Strategy, WiLDCOAST and CONANP Continue to Protect Critical Coastal Areas throughout Mexico
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Shorelien protected through ZOFEMAT acuerdos de destino in Laguna San Ignacio

Since 2008, WiLDCOAST and Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) have been working together to protect the most threatened and biologically significant coastal areas on the Baja California Peninsula and the Sea of Cortez. This effort has invloved setting aside the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone, or ZOFEMAT, for conservation. The ZOFEMAT represents the first 20 meters of shoreline above the high tide line, an area under federal jurisdiction throughout coastal Mexico.

Developers, companies and individuals can be granted concessions to the ZOFEMAT for development, resource extraction or other purposes even within Mexico’s protected areas. It is this issue that WiLDCOAST and CONANP are tackling with this conservation strategy.

CONANP can gain a type of concession called an acuerdo de destino strictly for conservation purposes within a federally decreed protected area, such as the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, or priority conservation zone, such as Bahia Magdalena. In the past, CONANP did not have the staff, logistical or technological capacity to carry out the rigorous fieldwork and due diligence required to solicit ZOFEMAT acuerdos de destino.

WiLDCOAST and CONANP together are carrying out the process and making significant advancements in this effort to protect some of Mexico’s most important coastal sites. Last year acuerdos de destino were granted to CONANP for 77 miles in Laguna San Ignacio and the Vizcaino Peninsula of Baja California Sur. This year an additional 222 miles were added to the list for the same areas, stretching all of the way from San Hipolito in the north to the southern arm of Laguna San Ignacio. Additional acuerdos de destino were granted on Isla Maviri and Cacaxtla on the Sinaloan coast.

This year, WiLDCOAST and CONANP are expanding this effort in Cabo Pulmo, Bahia Magdalena, the Valle de los Cirios Pacific Coast and on beaches between Huatulco and Salina Cruz in Oaxaca. For more information about the ZOFEMAT conservation process contact Zach Plopper, WiLDOCAST’s Wildlands Conservation Program Manager, at zach@wildcoast.net or (619) 423 8665 ext. 214.