7 febrero, 2023

Gray Whales have started to arrive to the Pacific Coast of Baja California for 2022 whale watching season

On December 2021, the gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) watching season began, with the first 20 whales being observed arriving at Laguna Ojo de Liebre in the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve. This Protected Natural Area (ANP) is one of the places where they go every year to have their young, after traveling more than 12 thousand kilometers from the cold waters of Alaska, which is why it is considered a refuge area for whales and calves. .

The coastal lagoons: Laguna Manuela, Laguna Guerrero Negro, Laguna Ojo de Liebre and Laguna San Ignacio are in two Biosphere Reserves; the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve and the Ojo de Liebre Lagoon Complex Biosphere Reserve. These sites are a conservation and monitoring space of the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (Conanp), which has resulted in the recovery of this species.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), through Conanp, works for the conservation and protection of the gray whale, one of the largest species in the marine world, which is in the special protection category of in accordance with the Official Mexican Standard 059-SEMARNAT-2010.

Conanp conducts the Program for the Conservation of Species at Risk (Procer), through which conservation and protection actions are carried out through permanent monitoring and weekly censuses, in addition to participating in surveillance actions with the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa), in coordination with the Secretary of the Navy (Semar), the National Commission for Aquaculture and Fisheries (Conapesca), and the Participatory Surveillance Committees made up of fishermen, ejidatarios, small businessmen and civil society organized.

Due to its exceptional universal value as the best place in the world for the reproduction and rearing of the Gray Whale, in 1993, Conanp registered the El Vizcaíno Whale Sanctuary as a World Heritage Site.

On February 2, 2004, the Ramsar Convention accepted the designation of the Ojo de Liebre Lagoon as a Ramsar site, with the number 1339, fulfilling criteria 2, 4, 5 and 6, which recognizes the Lagoon as a place of mating and birth of the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), as well as the presence of the sea lion (Zalophus californianus) and the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), both with special protection according to NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010.

On the 2021 season, the birth of 359 calves and the presence of 872 adult specimens were registered, adding up to one thousand 231 whales in the whaling sanctuaries of the El Vizcaíno Reserve (Laguna Guerrero Negro and Ojo de Liebre), a count that refers to the sighting of a single day the most abundant of whales.

Tourism service providers carry out a responsible activity and maintain quality standards in the service so that the species is not altered in its natural environment and whale watching can be achieved in a spectacular way. This work has been essential to achieve the recovery of the gray whale as the local population benefits through this activity in the months of December 2021 to April 2022.

Tourism service providers promote sustainable tourism for observation, in accordance with NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010 that establishes the guidelines and specifications for the development of whale watching activities, related to their protection and the conservation of their habitat. .

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