Mechtild Rössler, Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, welcomes the initiative by the Government of Mexico to create a vast ocean reserve spanning 150,000 sq km around the Revillagigedo islands, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016.
The establishment of the reserve follows the request of the World Heritage Committee when inscribing the Archipiélago de Revillagigedo on the World Heritage List, to increase legal protection for the area to extend the no-take zone. The Committee also requested other measures be taken to ensure careful management of tourism and improved monitoring and regulation of fishing.
The decree, announced by Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, also bans mining and the construction of new hotels on the islands. The no-take extension is a leading example for others around the world of how government agencies, civil society and the scientific community work hand in hand to strengthen the protection of our common heritage of humankind.
The Archipiélago de Revillagigedo is located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, 386 km southwest of the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, and 720 to 970 km west of the Mexican mainland. The site is a serial nomination made up of four remote islands and their surrounding waters: Isla San Benedicto, Isla Socorro, Isla Roca Partida and Isla Clarión. The islands and surrounding waters are rich in marine life and recognized as important stepping-stones and stop overs for wide ranging species. The property harbours abundant populations of sharks, rays, large pelagic fish, Humpback Whales, turtles and manta rays; a concentration of wildlife that attracts recreational divers from around the world.