The Bay of La Paz Project: Saving the Sea of Cortez

Although the best whale-watching is in the Pacific, it's the Sea of Cortez that once inspired Jacques Cousteau to call it the "world's aquarium." Apart from gray and humpback whales -- plus remarkable pelagic and reef life -- divers have spotted blue whales and even orcas in this extraordinary body of water, also known as the Gulf of California. Sadly, marine populations have declined between 70% and 90% since the 1960s, and, until now, nothing has been done to ensure that future generations will have fish in the sea.

SeaWatch, a La Paz-based organization dedicated to exposing and stopping destructive fishing practices in the Sea of Cortez for the past 15 years, has launched a public awareness campaign in Southern Baja to stop commercial fishermen from wiping out reefs and snaring hammerhead schools in nets. The Bay of La Paz Project, under the auspices of SeaWatch and three NGOs (Niparaj√°, the Billfish Foundation, and Pro-Natura), hopes to limit commercial fishing in various high-pressure areas over time, thereby allowing fish populations the chance to reproduce. If you would like to know more or find out how you can help, visit www.seawatch.org or call tel. 503/616-4421.

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