Chinese pirates illegally hunting Baja Californias protected white sharks

The white shark is a threatened species according to the Official Mexican Standard 059. In Mexico its fishing has been prohibited since December 2013

he majestic white shark of the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve, in Baja California, is in serious danger from the presence of Chinese pirates lurking in Mexican waters.

The white shark is a threatened species according to the Official Mexican Standard 059 and the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN, for its acronym in English). Fishing has been prohibited in Mexico since December 2013.

It is no secret to anyone that the Chinese are after the shark fin, it is a highly valued product in the Asian market, as they attribute healing and aphrodisiac properties to it; in fact, shark fin soup is a very popular dish, “said Alejandro Olivera, Mexico representative of the Center for Biological Diversity.

The intensive fishing fleet with the Chinese flag detected since July 16 near the Galapagos Island in Ecuador, does not recognize borders and could enter at any time to prey on our seas, warned Humberto Becerra Batista, president of the National Chamber of Industry Fisheries and Aquaculture (Canainpesca).

He stressed that the constant cuts to the budget in the inspection and surveillance work to combat illegal fishing, place Mexico and places as remote as Guadalupe Island at risk.

Of course they get involved! The Chinese have no limits, whatever moves they capture, so you have to be alert, you have to be very vigilant, “he said.

Ships from China have a free hand due to the low surveillance of the sanctuary of the white shark in Mexico, located 352 kilometers from the Port of Ensenada, more or less 18 hours away from the coast.

We are talking about the Chinese fleet being made up of around 500 vessels with storage capacities of up to 1,500 tons in the warehouse, ”explained the Canainpesca leader.


The situation is aggravated because since March, the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (Conanp), suspended “until further notice” all tourist-recreational activities in the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve, due to the health emergency caused by the Covid-19.

The problem there is the distance and diving with semi-autonomous equipment, which uses long extension hoses, which implies that it has to be guaranteed that they are free of everything, ”explained Benito Bermudez, director of the Baja California Peninsula and Pacific Region. North of Conanp.

The constant movement that is recorded in the sanctuary from the beginning of July to the end of November, during the white shark watching season, serves to scare away poachers, who do not dare to carry out their illegal activities, in the presence of fast cruise ships. who have communication radios and video recording equipment.

The deterrent capacity that exists on the island at this moment is zero, it is zero, a shark that enters, just one, lifts you up in a day 300 sharks; it eliminates the white shark population on the island and goodbye, Guadalupe is over and the white shark is over, ”warned Ricardo Size.

The representative of the tourism service providers of Isla Guadalupe stressed that the cruises have proven sanitary protocols in order to avoid contagion, so there is no risk for visitors or staff on board.

He stressed that this activity generates a significant capture of foreign exchange and sources of work, so necessary today in the country, with 144 direct jobs and 250 indirect ones.

He warned that after six months of inactivity, the specter of bankruptcy is already haunting, because you cannot continue to pay wages indefinitely.

That is the problem, imagine that the boats have been stopped since the end of March ”, he explained.

In the 2019 season, the economic benefit was 80.6 million pesos, in maintenance payment to shipyards, contractors, suppliers, salaries and resources that 2,917 tourists spent.

For the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas itself, this closure represents losses of approximately 600 thousand pesos for the collection of rights, which in times of austerity is a very important resource.

People who see the emblematic white shark of Isla Guadalupe for the first time, stop considering it a serial killer and learn to value it as a charismatic and curious species that must be cared for and conserved.

Biologist Benito Bermudez added that the decision that was made on Guadalupe Island has nothing to do with any other issue, other than health and safety, so he will sit down to dialogue with tourism service providers to agree on the mechanisms resumption of activities, following the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and the Harbor Master’s Office.


Guadalupe Island was declared a Biosphere Reserve on April 25, 2005, for being the only meeting place for the great white shark in Mexico, and one of the three best places in the world for its observation, along with South Africa and Australia, thanks to that its clear waters allow visibility from more than 30 meters away.

The white shark, a top predator, very important for the ecosystem, is attracted by the strong temperate currents, rocky bottoms and the colonies of sea lions and elephant seals on Guadalupe Island. The young specimens stay up to 14 months in the area.

According to Dr. Mauricio Hoyos, general director of the Pelagios Kakunjá organization, in 2013 it was possible to identify Deep Blue, a female over six meters long, which is the largest white shark that has been documented.


The Baja California Post