Revillagigedo Archipelago

The Revillagigedo Archipelago sits off of Mexico’s Pacific coast, about 800 km west of Manzanillo and 400 km south of Cabo San Lucas. With its rich ecological and geological landscape, the volcanic island chain was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016.

The four uninhabited islands—Socorro, Clarión, San Benedicto, and Roca Partida—are the peaks of volcanoes created more than 3.5 million years ago. They are part of a larger formation of seamounts, or underwater mountains, that help create upwellings of nutrients from the deep sea that support a vast array of marine life.

The Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy[1], joined local partners Beta Diversidad and the Coalition for the Defense of the Seas of Mexico (CODEMAR) to provide technical and scientific support for the establishment of the reserve, and to raise awareness of the benefits of preserving this archipelago.

To protect this remarkable ecosystem, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto designated the Revillagigedo Archipelago National Marine Park on 20th November, 2017. At 148,087 km2, the park is Mexico’s largest fully protected marine reserve, free from fishing and other extractive activities.

Revillagigedo is home to a diverse ecosystem that supports abundant marine life. These waters serve as a critical waypoint for many large migratory species, helping to connect region to region in the Pacific Ocean. It is home to at least 366 species of fish, including 26 found nowhere else on the planet. 37 species of sharks and rays, including large aggregations of whale sharks, live in the archipelago’s waters, including one of the world’s largest populations of oceanic manta rays. Four species of threatened sea turtles—leatherback, green, olive ridley, and hawksbill—have been found in marine habitats around Revillagigedo.

The isolated location of the marine park provides a place where whales, dolphins, sharks, and tuna can feed, breed, and rest during their migrations. The protected area offers safe refuge for species traveling long distances throughout the eastern tropical Pacific.

The Revillagigedo Archipelago National Marine Park, Mexico’s largest fully protected marine reserve, will safeguard biodiversity, support fisheries productivity, boost ecotourism, and sustain the myriad life-supporting benefits that healthy oceans provide for species in the water and on land.

[1] The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Bertarelli Foundation joined forces in 2017 to create the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project. Their aim is to create the first generation of ecologically significant and effective marine reserves around the world. The project builds on a decade of work by the two organizations to protect the ocean. Between them, they have helped obtain designations to safeguard 8.2 million square kilometres of ocean by working with philanthropic partners, indigenous groups, community leaders, government officials, and scientists. Since 2010, the Bertarelli Foundation has helped protect the ocean for future generations, through both marine conservation and collaborative marine science research.