October 21, 2019 8:02 pm

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by Katia Silva, Marine Biologist and Guide at Cabo Trek

The Cabo San Lucas Flora and Fauna Protection Area is a protected area located in Cabo San Lucas. It was created on August 9, 1973 and has an area of 3,996.04 hectares.

The purpose of the Reserve is to protect the southern portion of the Gulf of California and conserve the area's resources with emphasis on the multiple species considered endemic or subject to special protection by Mexican legislation, threatened or endangered and those of economic importance Current and potential.

Most of the Protected Natural area is in maritime surface (95%). This protected natural area is considered a Natural Heritage by Unesco, within the group "Islands and Protected Natural Areas of the Gulf of California".

To ensure the conservation of marine life in the Protected Area there are some established rules that must be respected:
- Tour operators must inform tourists about the area of environmental protection and its special conservation, protection and management protocol;
It is strictly prohibited:
- Throw garbage in the sea;
- Use a non-biodegradable protector sunscreen;
- Harass, chase, disturb or damage whales in any way, for the whale watching activity must be respected the official Mexican standard NOM-131-SEMARNART-2010;
- Feed, disturb, chase, touch, hurt, remove or ride manta rays, live corals, sea lions, as well as any form of marine organisms;
- Approach less than 50 meters away from the rocks, specially of the Arch and of the sea lion colony
- Fishing activities (Fishing sport and/or commercial) and extraction of marine organisms.
- Collect, capture, hunt, chase, retain, extract or appropriate species, derivatives, products or remains of wild, terrestrial or aquatic flora and fauna, for consumption or for sale.

The growth of disorderly tourism, without respect for environmental laws and the lack of enforcement to combat illegal activities has generated distorted markets with an over supply of services. This situation represents a threat to natural resources and generates conflicts in the area. The most affected area is observed in the area of the Arch (emblem of the natural area), where various activities take place all year round and without any control (glass bottom boats, private yachts and sport fishing boats) significantly disturbing the sea lion colony and endangering the life of divers in one of the most famous diving spots in Los Cabos called Land’s End.

As a strategy to combat environmental crimes and involve natural resources and civil society holders in their surveillance and protection, the Federal Environmental Prosecutor (PROFEPA) forms Participatory Environmental Monitoring Committees (CVAP), organized groups of people committed to the care and defense of the natural resources of their community, who freely express their willingness to participate in surveillance, prevention and reporting activities. They contribute with the environmental authority in the surveillance tasks and are accredited and trained by PROFEPA.

This year was created the first Committee in Los Cabos that will work supporting CONANP and PROFEPA, as a legal instrument, to prevent and report illegal activities that may cause environmental damage putting the ecological balance at risk.