Local engagement achieves surprising marine recovery

Enric Sala

Published on August 18, 2011

photo credit: Octavio Aburto-Oropeza/iLCP

A research team including Enric Sala (2005) has documented a spectacular recovery of marine life in Cabo Pulmo National Park, an area previously depleted by fishing in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Local citizens established the marine reserve in 1995 and have strictly enforced its "no take" restrictions. Sala and his colleagues found a 463 percent increase in the total amount of fish in the reserve ecosystem from 1999 to 2009. This success is "greatly due to local leadership, effective self-enforcement by local stakeholders, and the general support of the broader community," the research team says.