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.