Published On: Sun, Aug 6th, 2017

White Shark season in Guadalupe Island kicks off with new rules

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Guadalupe Island is a Natural Protected Area in the Biosphere Reserve, the only site of white shark concentration in Mexico (Carcharodon carcharias) and one of the bests places in the world to watch them, up to date there is a count of 274 specimens arriving, this island has become one of the most important places of this kind of shark aggregation and the ideal place to observe them for both scientists and tourists.

Due to several accidents during the observation of this species in the island and for this activity to be carried out under a strict good practices scheme and according to the sustainable tourism principles, the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP in Spanish) designed a new observation cage (which is mandatory for those who provide the service on the spot) aiming to guarantee safety of both species and visitors.

It is a one-piece cage and it’s removable with rounded bars with a 35 cm (about 14 inches) separation between them, has no chains nor balconies, these characteristics improve the safety for those who are observing the sharks, has two emergency exits, floaters inside the cage and signals on the upper corners for their recognition.

Furthermore, it has a stainless steel or marine aluminum netting, two compressed air tanks and an observation window with a maximum distance between bars of 27.5 inches among other improvements.

Currently the CONANP is making improvements to the Handling Program of this reserve, which includes the new specifications for immersion cages and at the same time, previous training by the service providers to give a better service to the visitors.

National Commissioner, Alejandro del Mazo Maza, pointed out that, with these modifications the CONANP seeks to establish a healthy interaction between humans and nature, fostering the White Shark observation activities so they can be carried out in a safe, protected fashion for the species as well as for the tourists.

A white shark can be as long as 20 feet and can weigh up to one thousand 635 pounds is an endothermal animal, capable of body temperature self-regulation of 5 degrees Celsius over the average temperature of ocean water.

It is in the listed norm NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010 under the category of endangered and it is protected by the NOM-029-PESC-2006, where there is retention or capture of live specimens as well as dead ones whole or in parts, is forbidden so they can’t be object of any sort of human consumption nor commercialization.

Guadalupe island was decreed as BIOSPHERE RESERVE April 25th 2005, it is located 162 miles away from the Baja California peninsula and it has a surface of 23 thousand 991 hectares.

It is listed in the Maritime Priority Regions catalogue and it is an Area of Importance for the Conservation of Birds, there have been 221 plant species 22 of which are endemically insular, in the area there important breeding colonies of California Marine Wolf (Zalophus californianus),  Guadalupe Fine Wolf  (Arctocephalus townsendi) and Northern Marine Elephant (Mirounga angustirostris).

Source: The Baja Post

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