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August 09, 2012

WiLDCOAST and CONANP Protect 311 Miles of Coastline on Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Public Lands Conservation Strategy with the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas Continues to Succeed
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Protected Shoreline in Laguna San Ignacio through ZOFEMAT Acuerdos de Destino

Since 2008, WiLDCOAST and Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) have been working together to protect public lands on the Baja California Peninsula, Sea of Cortez and other areas on Mexico’s Pacific coastline. The first twenty meters of shoreline throughout Mexico is defined as the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone, or ZOFEMAT, which is under federal jurisdiction. Even within federally decreed protected areas, concessions to the ZOFEMAT can be given for development, resource extraction or other uses. This has led to incompatible developments throughout many of Mexico’s biodiversity hotspots and delicate coastal ecosystems.

Fortunately, the ZOFEMAT in protected areas can also be awarded for conservation through a process called acuerdos de destino. WiLDCOAST and CONANP are working together to conserve unprotected shoreline through this process in bio-diverse locations such as Laguna San Ignacio, Cabo Pulmo, the Valle de los Cirios Pacific Coast, Bahia Magdalena and the Oaxaca coast. Out collaborative work involves field measurements, photographic archives, mapping and elaborate applications.

Although arduous, the effort has had unprecedented accomplishments in the protection of public land in Mexico. To date, we have conserved a total of 311 miles of shoreline in Laguna San Ignacio and the Vizcaino Peninsula in Baja California Sur, the Sinaloan coast and Huatulco, Oaxaca. We are currently working to protect and additional 1,030 miles in these areas as well as in Bahia Magdalena, the islands of the Sea of Cortez and other segments of the Oaxaca coastline.