Oceana celebrates the creation of Bajos del Norte National Park - Oceana

Oceana celebrates the creation of Bajos del Norte National Park

The new Natural Protected Area will be the largest in the Gulf of Mexico

Press Release Date: January 10, 2024

Location: Mexico City

Contact:

Gillian Spolarich | email: gspolarich@oceana.org
202-467-1909

Oceana, an organization dedicated to protecting the oceans, celebrated the Mexican government’s decision to create the Bajos del Norte National Park, the first 100% marine Natural Protected Area in the Gulf of Mexico that seeks to conserve the reefs and allow the sustainable use of the marine resources in the area.

Miguel Rivas, Habitat Campaign Director for Oceana in Mexico, said, “this is great news for the future of the oceans and the people that rely on them. With this decision, Mexico comes closer to achieving its goal to protect 30% of its marine territory by 2030 and guarantee a source of employment and food for thousands of families.”

According to the presidential decree published today in the Official Gazette of the Federation, Bajos del Norte National Park will include 1,304,114 protected marine hectares, making it the largest Natural Protected Area in the Gulf of Mexico. Bajos del Norte National Park, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) off the coast of Yucatán, will contribute to the recovery of commercial species such as red grouper, octopus, and spiny lobster.

This new Natural Protected Area connects with Alacranes Reef National Park. Together, these areas will form a conservation corridor and a refuge for threatened species such as sharks and turtles and will favor the migration of hundreds of marine animals from this area, thereby contributing to the health and abundance of the ocean.

This protected area is the result of the joint effort of national scientists, civil society organizations, fishers, and the Mexican government. The declaration of the new National Park is a testament to the ecological and social value of this unique region and marks a significant milestone in the race to protect marine ecosystems.

In 2021 and 2022, Oceana and Blancpain led scientific expeditions that demonstrated the importance of Bajos del Norte reefs for larval enrichment, genetic variability, and the protection of critical species such as sea turtles, sharks, and corals. The research derived from these expeditions served as the basis for this protected area’s creation.

Renata Terrazas, Vice President of Oceana in Mexico added, “having Natural Protected Areas puts us on the right path to achieving healthy and abundant oceans, which are critical in the fight against Global Warming. Bajos del Norte is a great victory for the oceans and a sign that coordinated work between civil society and authorities is possible.”

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Press contact: Edith Martínez | emartinez@oceana.org | 553939-3599