Urgent call! Oceana asks to protect whales that arrive in Mexico


According to the Non-Governmental Organization Oceana, water pollution and overfishing damage the feeding areas of these animals, adding to the lack in protection of Natural Protected Areas.

The whale watching season is still in force, many have managed to see, from the Mazatlán boardwalk, a flutter of these cetaceans, being a unique spectacle and in view of this and in order to continue receiving them, the Non-Governmental Organization Oceana, makes an urgent call for their protection and above all the conservation of the Protected Natural Areas where they are housed.

Oceana pide proteger ballenas que llegan a territorio mexicano

Miguel Rivas, Director of Marine Sanctuaries at Oceana, explained that in Mexico, there are 6 places that serve as temporary homes for whales, where they live their reproduction or gestation process for months: Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco and Oaxaca.

And although it is something that can be presumed, as part of the attractions of a place, according to the organization, the whales are being affected by the contamination of the waters, but mainly by overfishing in their feeding areas.

“Caring for whales is not only about preventing their hunting, but about protecting the marine habitat that they visit in our country, therefore, strengthening Mexico’s ANPs is key,” he declared.

Rivas said that one of the places where the first sightings are made is Bahía de Loreto, in Baja California Sur, a Protected Natural Area that receives these cetaceans from February to March and where you can also see 29 other species of marine mammals.

In 2021, Oceana published an evaluation of the 39 Marine Natural Protected Areas in Mexico and the conclusions were not encouraging: It is a lacking system in the face of current challenges.

“Caring for the environment is also defending the income, jobs and way of life of the people who depend on providing responsible tourism services for whale watching. Regulating fishing in the ANP is fundamental, but currently we do not know how much is fished in them,” said Miguel Rivas.

In addition, he said that krill, a small crustacean that whales feed on, is highly sensitive to environmental stress, when the waters are affected by organic pollution due to fecal matter from wastewater and/or plastic pollution, we put at risk these marine animals.

He added that one way to enjoy whale watching responsibly is by hiring certified tour operators identified with a pennant issued by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, this guarantees that the tour operator knows the protocols for a passive sighting and complies with the necessary measures that guarantee the safety of whales and people.

The organization made the evaluation available for any consultation at  https://mx.oceana.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/ANPs_marinas_reporte_ejectutivo.pdf 

Here in Mazatlán, one of these research companies and tours of the bay to learn about whale watching is Onca Exploraciones.

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