Pacifico Mexicano Profundo - General Zones (Buffer Zones) Biosphere Reserve (Reserva de la Biosfera - Preservación Pacífico Profundo)
The Deep Mexican Pacific Biosphere Reserve was formally implemented with a management plan on 5 June 2018. The area of Parque Nacional Revillagigedo was removed from the area and the revised area as implemented is 436,147 km2 with 121,720 km2 of core area and 314,426 km2 of general zonation. The MPA is only designated from 800 meters below the sea surface to the sea floor.
From the Management Plan:
Rule 23. Within the buffer zones of the Biosphere Reserve, it is prohibited:
I. Throwing, dumping, storing, dumping or depositing waste derived from highly active activities risky by virtue of their corrosive, reactive, radioactive, explosive, toxic, inflammable or biological-infectious, which can affect the ecological balance or the environment; A) Yes how to dispose of other contaminating substances such as insecticides, fungicides and pesticides, or containers that contain them;
II. Build confinements of hazardous materials and substances;
III. Build final disposal sites or sanitary landfills for solid waste;
IV. Carry out extractive activities of marine mammals, whether subsistence or commercial, with the exception of the catch that has for its object scientific research;
V. Introduce exotic species, including invasive ones;
VI. Alter or destroy by any means or action the sites of feeding, nesting, shelter or reproduction of wild species;
VII. Use any source that emits noise that alters the behavior of wild species;
VIII. Carry out any private work that implies the construction of infrastructure, without authorization corresponding to the corresponding federal authorities;
IX. Modify or remove chimneys and rocks from hydrothermal vents for investigations geological, geochemical or geophysical;
X. Carry out repairs, major maintenance and remodeling of boats and engines;
XI. Pour ballast water and drain bilges, except in emergency situations;
XII. Remove the seabed or generate the suspension of sediments, muddy or silty waters;
XIII. Perform exploration, mining and extraction of stone material;
XIV. Employ trawling methods and other invasive techniques on the seabed, and
XV. Use explosives
From MPA News website:
On 7 December 2016, during the 13th Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP13) held in Cancún, the Mexican Government designated three new MPAs totaling 647,015 km2. All three sites are multiple-use biosphere reserves, with some zones that are strictly protected (no-take) and others that are sustainably managed.
The Deep Mexican Pacific Biosphere Reserve is a 577,862-km2 deep-sea multi-use MPA, designated from 800 meters below the sea surface to the sea floor in Mexico’s Pacific waters. Designed to protect fragile seabed ecosystems, this biosphere reserve is currently Mexico´s largest protected area and the 12th-largest MPA worldwide. Mining and fishing will not be allowed in the MPA’s 15 strictly protected core zones that cover 187,771 km2. In the MPA’s 390,091 km2 of buffer zones, no mining and only fishing activities that do not use bottom-trawling gear will be permitted. (In the waters above this MPA, a Mysticeti and Odontoceti Refuge Area, designated in 2002, protects all large whales in Mexico´s EEZ, while the economically important tuna fishery is managed by the National Fisheries Commission [CONAPESCA] within the framework of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission [IATTC].)
This MPA protects the Tehuantepec Trench (Mexico´s deepest point at 6721 meters below sea level); Mexico´s highest concentration of seamounts, including the Mathematicians Seamounts; the lower reaches of the Banderas, Petacalco-Lázaro Cárdenas, and Ometepec grand marine canyons; the geologically active East Pacific Rise, where new marine floor is constantly created by the presence of hydrothermal vents; and deep sea habitats surrounding the core and buffer areas of the Revillagigedo Archipelago, already included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Concerns have been voiced that more than tripling Mexico´s protected area coverage at a time of serious budgetary constraints for management will drain resources for existing protected areas. Some have suggested this indicates these MPAs were created only in order for Mexico to meet Aichi Target 11.
However, while the national budgetary crisis is certainly real and worrisome, it should be noted that only the Baja California Pacific Islands and the coastal portion of the Mexican Caribbean biosphere reserves will require immediate on-the-water management efforts. Currently protecting the deep-sea portions of them will only require focusing existing surveillance activities of the EEZ by the Mexican Navy and a relatively small increase in administrative tasks — since no public or private stakeholders currently use resources from these deep zones. Precisely this situation is what makes their establishment more than timely. Why wait for conflicts to emerge in order to create MPAs?
It is encouraging to see Mexico adopt measures that will protect the deep ocean. These measures are implementing United Nations General Assembly resolutions on deep-sea protection, such as Resolution 61/105, and support similar measures taken by the European Union, individual countries, and regional fisheries management organizations around the world.
For more information:
Juan E. Bezaury Creel, The Nature Conservancy, México. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org