Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón announced on Friday, June 15, the cancellation of the proposed Cabo Cortes mega-resort at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. President Calderón noted that the project developer has not proven scientifically that the massive development would not threaten a nearby marine reserve.
According to President Calderón, there was still not an “absolute certainty” that the development “will not cause irreversible damage” to the environment. “A few years ago, the company Hansa Baja began steps for the construction of a tourist mega-development called Cabo Cortes,” he said, referring to the Hansa Baja Investments company, which is a unit of Spain’s Hansa Urbana. The development plans called for construction of a marina with 490 boat slips, two golf courses, seven hotels and 5000 residences for workers, all close to the Cabo Pulmo preserve, which was declared a natural protected area by the Mexican government in 1995.
“Because of the ecological significance of Cabo Pulmo (marine reserve), the possibility that the Cabo Cortes tourist development would be built on 3,800 hectares (9,386 acres) adjacent to the national park sparked concerns among the local communities, academics and environmental groups,” he added.
A number of environmental groups (including Baja.com friend Wild Coast and Amigos para la Conservación de Cabo Pulmo), local communities and other organizations had protested the Cabo Cortes project based on the belief that it could potentially threaten Cabo Pulmo on the East Cape of Baja Sur.
Said Calderón, because it is “such an important area for the Gulf of California and the country … we should all be absolutely certain that (the project) will not cause irreversible harm and that absolute certainty simply has not been generated.” He did open the door, however, for investors of the original project to start again, creating a project that would be compatible with and enhance the sustainability of this unique Cabo Pulmo reserve.
The Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park in Baja California Sur has a marine area of 7,111 hectares (17,564 acres) and boasts the best-preserved coral reef in Mexico’s Pacific region. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and three years later was added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.The 20,000-year-old Cabo Pulmo reef, one of the oldest in the American Pacific, is home to 226 of the 875 fish species that inhabit the Gulf of California.
The East Cape area of Baja Sur and Cabo Pulmo: Learn more!
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