Overbrook grantee helps block mega-development near UNESCO-recognized marine park

In a victory for the conservationist community and the fragile marine ecosystem in Cabo Pulma, President Felipe Calderon of Mexico announced last week that a controversial mega-development project in the area would not go forward. The proposed $2 billion construction project envisioned 490 boat slips, two golf courses, seven hotels with 27,000 guestrooms for tourists and 5,000 worker residences, all within a short distance from the Cabo Pulma marine park. The 17,000+ acre park was designated off-limits to fishing in 1995, and has seen a 460% increase in marine life over the last 10 years. Environmental organizations, including Pronatura Noroeste, one of Overbrook's grantees, fought vigorously against the proposal, claiming that Hansa Urbana SA, the firm behind the project, could not show that it would not have a significant negative effect on the UNESCO-recognized marine park.

On June 14, President Calderon acknowledged these concerns, as well as the petition signed by over 220,000 Mexican citizens, and withdrew the provisional permits granted to Hansa in 2008. As Patricia Arendar, the head of Greenpeace Mexico, puts it: "canceling Cabo Cortes is a triumph for Mexicans who raised their voice to demand that the president . . . stop favoring the interests of plundering businesses." It's also a triumph for the 20,000 year-old Cabo Pulma marine park, which was recognized by the Scripps Institution as "the world's most robust marine reserve."

Viva los peces!