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Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico – March 31, 2021 – Sea Shepherd sailing vessel Martin Sheen has returned to the Revillagigedo Archipelago as part of an ongoing scientific collaboration with CONANP, Mexico’s Commission of Natural Protected Areas, aimed at studying and protecting the animals and ecosystems of the largest marine protected area in North America.

This expedition marks the fifth season of Sea Shepherd’s involvement in this important conservation partnership. On this mission, CONANP researchers and Sea Shepherd crew are working with renowned cetacean scientist Dr. Hiram Rosales and his team from MMAPE (Megafauna Marina y Pesquerías) of Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS) to study the prevalence, health, and behavior of humpback whales and other marine mammals present in the Revillagigedo Archipelago marine reserve.

Humpback whale at Punta Tosca | Credit: Valentina Cucchiara

CONANP researchers are conducting ongoing marine biological monitoring, studying the coral reef systems and pelagic fauna present in the area, and investigating the Laysan Albatross – a near-threatened species which uses one of the islands in the Revillagigedo Archipelago as a nesting site.

The Revillagigedo Archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage site located 240 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas. Humpback whales migrate annually to this area to mate and nurse their calves, making this region one of the most significant whale breeding grounds in Mexico, and possibly in the North Pacific. CONANP park rangers monitor the area throughout the year, ensuring the laws surrounding the marine park are upheld and protecting the numerous species that inhabit this biodiversity hotspot, including whales, dolphins, sharks, giant mantas, and various species of fish.

Sea Shepherd’s Martin Sheen serves as a platform for these activities, providing assistance to scientists and CONANP park rangers and supporting the monitoring and conservation of this unique marine protected area.

Photo Credit: Simon Ager

“Revillagigedo is one of the few places in the ocean that can show us what a healthy marine ecosystem may look like,” says Eva Hidalgo, Sea Shepherd’s Science Coordinator. “This collaboration brings hope to the protection of marine wildlife around the world, by not only helping the conservation of the studied species but also by demonstrating the importance and the value of marine protected areas.”

Sea Shepherd Science works with researchers around the world, contributing to cutting-edge conservation research to support decision-makers and ultimately enhance protections for all marine species throughout their life cycles. Last year, Sea Shepherd’s scientific collaborations led to the discovery of a potentially new species of whale. Through the combined strategies of direct action, research, education, and outreach, Sea Shepherd is on the front lines of ocean conservation and remains committed to defending marine wildlife worldwide.

Images taken in a Natural Protected Area designated by the Government of Mexico for the protection of its natural resources and subject to special regulations. Data and images collected under permit SGPA/DGVS/00823.

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