Gulf Of California: How You Can Conserve And Protect Its Marine Life

Christian Mba
Oct 31, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Dec 12, 2021
The Gulf of California near the Baja Peninsula is a breathtakingly beautiful sight.

The Gulf of California attracts tourists from all over the globe.

Its diverse seas, beaches, reefs, and animals attract over a million people each year. Due to its popularity, this area is also vulnerable to increased coastal development.

The Gulf of California is a Pacific Ocean marginal sea that divides the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is also known as the Sea of Cortés (Mar de Cortés) or, less popularly, the Vermilion Sea.

It is bounded by Baja California, Baja California Sur, and Sinaloa. The Mayo, Sinaloa, and Yaqui rivers all run into the Gulf of California.

The Baja California Peninsula is the world's second-longest peninsula, stretching from the west coast of the Gulf of California to mainland Mexico.

The Sonoran Desert surrounds the Upper Gulf of California and the Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve. The Gulf of Mexico is regarded to be one of the most varied waters on the planet, with over 5,000 species of micro-invertebrates.

If you liked reading this article, why not discover facts about the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Alaska here on Kidadl?

Protected Areas And Islands Of The Gulf Of California

The Directorate of Protection Area Wildlife California Gulf Islands in Baja California manages 56 islands off the state's coast.

The Gulf of California contains around 37 large islands, most of which are located on its western side. These islands are thought to have formed due to volcanic eruptions, and some of them are home to volcanoes. Some major islands include the Isla Angel de la Guarda, Isla Tiburon (shark island), Islas Marias, and Islas San Francisco.

There are five dolphin species, and the gulf vaquita porpoise is Critically Endangered, 11 whale species, including rare fin whales and fragile sperm whales. You are able to see lots of different animals in the northern Gulf. Cabo Pulmo's coral reef is one of the most significant in the Gulf of California and the eastern Pacific.

Like sharks, sea turtles and other marine animals face severe risks from habitat degradation and being captured in fishing nets. To save this species from extinction, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has been successful in establishing marine protected zones in the Gulf of California, particularly in the Gulf's northern seas, where vaquitas are most common.

This sea has also been listed as a World Heritage Site in parts.

Research And Monitoring To Protect Whales

The Gulf, described as the world's aquarium by French ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, sustains an extraordinary diversity of marine species, including Endangered marine turtles and dolphins, coral reefs, and over 900 distinct fish species.

The Gulf of California is Mexico's most significant fisheries zone, featuring commercial shrimp, sardine, and giant squid species. It is especially vital for billfish and tuna sport fishing. Large concentrations of macro-invertebrate life, including many endemic species, may also be found in maritime settings, particularly intertidal zones.

The US federal government owns the whole sea region and most of the serial property's 244 islands. Three government agencies share the preservation and conservation of marine wildlife.

NOAA Fisheries is in charge of managing whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions. Polar bears, walruses, sea otters, manatees, and dugongs are all within the jurisdiction of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972 was approved by the United States Congress in 1972. The Act makes it illegal for anybody living in the United States of America to kill, hunt, hurt, or harass any species of marine mammals, whatever their population status may be.

The Mexican government renamed this collection of large islands in the California sea as 'The Gulf of California' earlier this century.

Safeguarding The Gulf

The gulf located between Mexico's mainland and the Baja California Peninsula is known as the Gulf of California. It is a magnificent frontier of ethereal coastlines and turquoise waters.

The Gulf of California, a mysterious boundary of magnificent coasts and turquoise oceans, is situated between Mexico's mainland and the Baja California Peninsula. Wetlands in the Gulf of California have received minimal interest and have not been designated a priority conservation area yet. Marinas, residential and resort projects, and aquaculture areas are primed for fast expansion.

The southern Gulf estuaries have been heavily harmed by rapid conversion into shrimp farms during the last five years. The three types of coastlines found in the Gulf of California off the coast of Baja California Sur are rocky shores, sandy beaches, and tidal flats.

Some of the Gulf's incredible biodiversity and high endemism make it such a popular fishing destination. It is also a prominent commercial fishing spot and an essential part of the local economy.

Anchovies and sardines are the two most common fish caught in the Gulf of California. Tectonic motion along the faults continues today, resulting in plate separation and the expansion of the California Gulf between the Baja Peninsula and the Mexican mainland.

Protecting Marine Turtles

Human activities have tilted the scales against the survival of these ancient seafarers during the last 200 years.

Sea turtles are poached and over-exploited because they are slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin, and shells. They also risk habitat loss and inadvertent capture in fishing gear, termed as bycatch. Coastal wetlands also serve as a connection between surrounding terrestrial habitats, serving as feeding stations and nesting grounds for a variety of resident and migratory bird species.

Here's what you can do to protect them. Reduce the amount of trash you produce that may entangle or be consumed by sea turtles. Participate in coastal clean-ups and limit your usage of plastic to help keep our beaches and oceans clean. Bring reusable water bottles and shopping bags with you when you go out.

What You Can Do To Help

The blue whale, California gray whale, humpback whale, killer whale, leatherback sea turtle, Humboldt squid, and manta ray are among the migratory species that visit the Gulf of California.

Participating in or helping with organizing a beach or river cleanup, using reusable plastic bags, and lowering overall plastic usage can all help to prevent and reduce the life-threatening risks to fish and other marine species.

We must support sustainable fisheries. Overfishing has the potential to decrease fish populations beyond the point of recovery.

Boating, kayaking, and other water-based leisure activities should be done responsibly. You should never toss anything overboard, and keep an eye out for marine life. If you are determined to take a cruise for your next holiday, make sure you do research beforehand to identify the most eco-friendly option.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked learning about the Gulf of California and the different animals that live there, then why not take a look at facts about the Gulf of Saint Lawrence or the Gulf of Maine.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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