The Sea of Cortez...The World's Aquarium

Sea of Cortez Region


As one of the world’s most biologically diverse bodies of water, the Sea of Cortez is a unique living lab referred to as “the aquarium of the world”. This stretch of sea between Mexico’s mainland and the Baja California peninsula is home to thousands of marine species, abundant natural resources, and striking natural beauty. However, for the past 20 years and increasingly over the last five, the Sea of Cortez Region has drawn international attention, not for its diversity and splendor, but for the critical endangerment of two of its extremely rare species.

The vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. With estimates of as few as 60 remaining, this small porpoise is considered to be on the very edge of extinction. The giant totoaba (Totoaba Macdonaldi) is another of the Region’s perilously endangered fish. As both the vaquita and totoaba are endemic to the Sea of Cortez, their diminishing numbers have raised international alarm and negative sentiment toward the Mexican government, in spite of its earnest attempts to legislate their preservation.

E W Wells Group, LLC, proposes that the intense international focus on this Region’s crisis provides a timely opportunity to advance a solution. The biological diversity of the Sea of Cortez has been identified internationally as a unique ecosystem that must be saved. While focused efforts from a multitude of entities have been numerous and determined, none have proven to affect sustainable improvement. Though historical commercial overfishing and poaching have been the main threats to the Region’s ecological preservation (this, in a region that relies heavily on fishing for its economy), additional challenges and contributing factors are almost as broad and unique as the species represented there. For the above reasons, Wells believes that a true solution can come only from the development of a cohesive master plan that unifies efforts and provides sustainable ecological and socioeconomic solutions. In addition, an effective plan will address not only the issues of the endangered vaquita and totoaba, but must also take on the complex ecological and economic challenges of the entire Region that contribute to endangerment.

Wells has already identified industries that, with a concentrated comprehensive approach, could advance an ecological solution while contributing to a stable, legal economy in the Sea of Cortez Region. The totoaba presents great potential for increased aquaculture in the Region, as it is a fast-growing species whose swim bladder is in high demand in Asian markets. Responsible breeding of the totoaba could replace current poaching and black-market activity to contribute to the economy while aiding in the recovery of wild stocks.

With the Region’s existing natural resources, growth in sustainable fishing and increased eco-tourism have also been identified as having the potential to contribute significantly to a sustainable ecological and economic solution. We anticipate that additional industries will be identified through the discovery process as the master plan is developed. Working with Mexico’s Federal government and key stakeholders in the states that make up the Sea of Cortez Region (Sinaloa, Sonora, Baja California Norte, and Baja California Sur), Wells proposes to bring together a task force of world-renowned experts across multiple disciplines to focus on individual issues and opportunities from an all-encompassing perspective. By harnessing the synergy of the best and the brightest minds along with proven concepts, techniques, and technologies, the impact of all efforts to save and enhance the Sea of Cortez Region will grow exponentially.


Proposal to Lead the Writing, Implementation and Management of the Sea of Cortez Region Sustainable Socioeconomic Development Plan:

By: E W Wells Group LLC

Kathryn Steele, Stephen Shaner PhD, Tony Haymet PhD


The proposed Sea of Cortez Region Sustainable Socioeconomic Development Plan will:

• Provide a clear, structured approach to a sustainable solution centered on goals that are focused on the needs, desires and well-being of the entire Region and its people.

• Integrate proven, business management turnaround methodologies and mentorship, with the goal of transitioning local business leaders and Mexican nationals to leadership of the project within a two-to-five year time frame.

• Empower the Region’s four states to jointly create a plan, appeal for finance, and execute their vision within an organized, transparent, and budgeted strategy.

• Engage with non-governmental organizations already contributing to subparts of the Region’s challenges to build on knowledge previously gained.

• Demonstrate to the international community that Mexico is committed and engaged in resolving issues that have garnered negative attention in recent years.

• Pilot a model for universal learning. With its diverse species, resources, and challenges within a finite space, the Region offers unique opportunities for investigation, discovery, and problem solving that can be replicated globally.


The Sea of Cortez Region has an abundance of resources that, with a unified approach, can be developed to create sustainable, socioeconomic activity while resolving the environmental issues that have plagued the area for the past two decades. Mexico is the keeper of the Sea of Cortez Region, considered to be one of our planet’s most invaluable treasures. Thus, it incumbent on the world to come together to create the synergy that will enable this Region to coexist ecologically and economically and thrive into the future.

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