By Johanna D.J. Nieblas and
Bárbara B. Ramírez *

With the hope of improving community awareness, better utilization of protected natural areas, maintaining a sustainable fishery and supporting youth leadership, the San Pedro Mártir Island Biosphere Reserve Monitoring Group was born.

The challenge that keeps members together is the maintenance of the reserve’s core zone, where no fishing is allowed and where there is a periodic monitoring effort intended to quantify how much the numbers of species have increased.

“We are the most united group,” said member Ramón Ulises Becerra, in reference to the experiences of other similar groups throughout northwest Mexico, including those in Puerto Peñasco, Isla Natividad and Loreto.

The San Pedro Mártir Island group has followed a continuous monitoring strategy, applying the knowledge gained from training sessions that they began to attend in 2007 as part of the environmental protection plan for the island.
“Divers from the community were chosen as a way to give more credibility to the plan, because people trust local divers more,” Becerra comments. “If we don't take care of it. Who will?” he adds.

Because part of the population doesn't show much interest in protecting their resources, “we hope to share our acquired knowledge with the community, like we have been doing with our ecology clubs: caring, protecting and contributing to sustainable fishing,” said a diver-monitor.

Another diver, also a monitor for the San Pedro Mártir Island Biosphere Reserve, will travel to San   Francisco,   California.  Noé Bustamante,  will  talk  about the
Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness
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Los buzos retoman el nombre de su grupo de la Isla San Pedro MártirDivers take the name of their group from Isla San Pedro Mártir, a prominent landmark in Kino Bay.
(Photo: Jesús Ventura Trejo)

Divers Nurture a Collective Sensibility

 logo Bahia Kino

It all began when researchers from the organization Cobi (acronym for Community and Biodiversity, in English) and  personnel from CONANP (National Commission on Protected Natural Areas) made a formal invitation to divers from the area to apply to a program aimed at creating a monitoring group.  Their goal was to involve the community in the care and
By Ramón Eduardo Meza Gutierrez
and Laura Liseth Wicochea Acuña

The training project for fishermen began in 2007, five years after the Isla San Pedro Mártir Biosphere Reserve was created.  Today, just barely four years later, the fishermen are being recognized regionally for their contributions to the community.
They have learned a great deal since they began and today, as one of the group comments, “We truly feel we play a fundamental role in raising community awareness in the region.”

conservation of the community’s natural resources.

During the application process, Cobi was able to evaluate each participant’s age, experience, current level of knowledge, and willingness to work as a team. Eight divers were finally chosen, each of them with more than 10 years of diving experience.  They were   then   certified    in    scuba
diving and taught basic deep sea fishing techniques, as well as the identification of fish species and first aide.

The team’s work includes monitoring seaweed and other species in order to obtain reliable data and be able to share their findings with the community.  This skill has given them a certain sense of pride, as Ulise Becerra, one of the divers involved, commented:

We have carried out a number of specific activities together and we would like to continue doing so, since together—those at sea and on shore— we can accomplish more because we know that caring for the environment is something very important.

*Members of the Ecology Club Xapoo

El buzo monitor Ramón Ulises Becerra concede entrevista a integrantes del Grupo Ecológico XapooDiver-monitor Ramón Ulises Becerra grants an interview to members of the ecology group Xapoo from the Isla San Pedro Mártir Biosphere Reserve.
(Photo: Ernesto Bolado Martínez)
work being carried out in collaboration with National Geographic. They are excited about the opportunity to share the history of the scientific work that they, as citizens, have done for   4   consecutive   years,   of how  the  community  is  suppor-

ting them more and more, and of how they in turn have helped local ecology clubs like Xapoo and Los Jóvenes Delfines (The Young Dolphins).

*Members of the Ecology Club Xapoo
Bahía Kino Divers Conserve and Protect Reserve
“We   truly   feel   we   play
a fundamental role in raising community aware-
ness in the region.”
los integrantes del grupo de Buzos Monitores de la Reserva de la Biósfera Isla San Pedro Mártir
Each member of the group Buzos Monitores (Diver-monitors) from the Isla San Pedro Mártir Biosphere Reserve has at least 10 years diving experience.
(Photo: COBI—Comunidad y Biodiversidad, AC.)
Bahia Kino