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El Pardito Island and Palma Sola


Conservation benefit: Reduced contamination and illegal fishing in 1,543 acres of marine protected area, informative signs, and patrols

Community benefit: Improved sanitation on both islands

Date Approved: 06.2024


This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

The Gulf of California, between the Mexican mainland and the long skinny peninsula of Baja California Sur, is one of the most biodiverse seas in the world. Its waters harbor more than 2,000 species of mollusks, more than 1,000 species of crustaceans, and more than 900 species of fish. Marine mammals, marine turtles, and seabirds are also abundant.

The desert islands of El Pardito and San José are close to the peninsula, along the San Cosme-Punta Coyote corridor, a migration route for manta and mobula rays, whale sharks and other sharks, and humpback and blue whales. Five species of endangered sea turtles are also found here: hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback, green, and olive ridley.

In 2012, fishers from two coastal communities on these islands set aside 1,543 acres as no-take zone, to help fish populations recover from years of overfishing. The fishermen use artisanal fishing lines and hooks, forgoing the gillnets that indiscriminately catch other species, including endangered sea turtles.

Two big environmental problems still need to be addressed. The first is pollution from human waste. Few people live in these communities, but thousands of tourists visit El Pardito every year, and there are no proper toilets. The other big threat is illegal fishing .

Pollution. The community will get expert advice on how to handle the waste, and will then repair or replace the insufficient bathrooms.

Illegal fishing. To discourage illegal fishing by recreational fishers who don’t know about the no-take area, community members will put up prominent signs spelling out the rules. Members of the fisherman’s co-ops will also patrol the area.

Our partner, the Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparajá, has worked to protect Baja California Sur’s environment since volunteers started the organization in 1990.

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