Some 540 kilometers south of Baja California lies the Revillagigedo archipelago, which consists of four islands of volcanic origin: Socorro, Clarion, San Benedicto, and Roca Partida. Known as the “Galápagos of Mexico,” this iconic dive destination contains one of the largest aggregations of sharks and manta rays in the world, as well as tuna, humpback whales, and five species of sea turtles.
partnering with M/V Argo and The DEEPSEE submersible team, the Pristine Seas team conducted an expedition to explore the waters around the small reserve—including never before surveyed seamounts.
The team traveled to Socorro, San Benedicto, and Roca Partida to evaluate their fish biomass and improve understanding of how the entire ecosystem of the archipelago works. To fully explore the area, they descended to the depths in the DEEPSEE submersible, deployed remote drop and stereo pelagic cameras, made scuba diving transects, and operated drone cameras.
In October 2017, at the Our Ocean Conference in Malta, the Mexican government announced its commitment to create a marine protected area around the islands. On November 24, 2017, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a decree creating the Revillagigedo National Park, expanding the previous small marine reserve around the archipelago. At 148,000 square kilometers, it is now the largest fully protected marine reserve in North America. The Revillagigedo National Park protects the greatest concentration of tropical marine megafauna in North America, including silky sharks, hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, giant manta rays, tuna, and humpback whales, as well as rich deep-sea habitats.