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Baja Life Magazine supports the protection, preservation and management of Baja California's magnificent natural resources. As a means to provide current information to our readers, the staff at Baja Life Online has created this website to continually update you on the many individuals, forward-thinking companies and NGOs that are working hard to balance the use of Baja’s unique eco-systems. Through education and appreciation, our goal is to manage these diverse environments in a sustainable manner that provides for existing and future generations.

La Paz Gets an Artificial Reef
-Margot Davis

The area surrounding La Paz has been blessed with an incredible number of marine species and fauna and continues to attract divers to see the numerous wonders that this area has to offer. Numerous organizations such as PRONATURA, Sea Watch and The Cortez Conservation Club have joined forces in an attempt to protect the fragile marine resources surrounding La Paz.

Over three years ago, John Riffe of Sea Watch spearheaded an attempt to acquire two Chinese junks named Fang Ming and Lapaz 03, 56 meters and 36 meters in length respectively. Mr. Riffe saw the golden opportunity of taking advantage of the situation to create an artificial reef in the Bay of La Paz, not only creating new exciting dive sites for the growing diving community, but also reducing the impact of tourism on the natural reefs. The creation of artificial reefs is an already proven recipe in the United States and Canada and the well-known 330-foot “Salvatierra” wreck, which accidentally sunk in the San Lorenzo channel, has demonstrated the immense amount of life that an artificial reef can support.

In November 1999, Mr. Riffe’s persistent efforts paid off with the help of PRONATURA, a Mexican non-profit association whose mission is to conserve the biodiversity, the ecosystems and the natural resources of the Baja Peninsula. The two boats were prepared and sunk in June near Isla Ballena. The sites were chosen by the newly formed Association of the Sea of Cortez Dive Clubs. The Association is responsible for maintaining the wrecks and for enforcing a, “Take only photographs, leave only bubbles” approach, allowing the reef to develop undisturbed. The local University is also heavily involved with the project as it gives young researchers an excellent base for examining the development of the artificial reef and the reproduction of the resident fish that will find a new shelter.

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