Campaign manager: Perla Lozano Angulo
Often referred to as “the world’s aquarium” for its spectacular biodiversity, the Gulf of California is home to species representing one-third of Earth’s marine mammals and samples of more than 80 percent of the aquatic mammals found in the Pacific Ocean. At its entrance sits the Loreto Bay National Park, known internationally for its 2,065 square kilometers of islands, wetlands, lagoons, mangroves, sea grass beds and marine areas which support 72 percent of all marine mammal species in Mexico.
This rich collection of marine biodiversity is under siege by a myriad of human activity that is threatening the biodiversity and economic sustainability of the region. Among the most critical challenges brought about by increasing coastal development are overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices.
In 2009, Rare and CONANP’s (Mexico’s national park service), Perla Lozano Angulo, of the Loreto Bay National Park, launched a two-year Pride campaign to empower local fishers to reap the benefits of sustainable fishing and inspire communities to make conservation a way of life.
When Loreto Bay National Park adopted new guidelines to increase the size of no-take zones within the park, it posed a challenge among fishers who Perla surveyed. 50 percent had never heard of a no-take zone, 64 percent thought that most fishers rarely or never respect NTZs and 85 percent had never participated in a conservation or sustainable use activity in the past.
Perla developed program activities and workshops to explain and prepare fishers to benefit from marine protected area policies while also developing a broader social marketing campaign to build community awareness and support for sustainable fishing in the park. For fishers, Perla designed workshops with local technical experts that covered registering for permits, respecting no-take zones, and monitoring and enforcement of the marine protected areas.
To raise awareness and support for more sustainable fishing practices at the broader community level, Perla has designed a myriad of campaign activities under the slogan “Loretanos…for a Sea Full of Life”. These activities include volunteers painting murals, delivering conservation-themed puppet shows and producing games and activities for local public events and festivals.
A full suite of communications materials includes local fishers in radio ads and posters, while campaign songs, bumper stickers, hats, stickers and a charismatic Chocolate Clam mascot (a species for which Loreto is famous) promote conservation awareness and buy-in at parades, schools and events throughout the area.