Green List

Parque Nacional Zona Marina del Archipiélago de Espíritu Santo
Zona marina del Archipiélago de Espíritu Santo


First Listed



Why is it Green Listed?

The Espíritu Santo complex of islands is one of the 182 protected areas administered by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP. Its surrounding waters are the most biologically diverse in the south of the Gulf of California and the over 48,000 hectare area has a considerable number of marine species, including a colony of sea lions, as well as perfectly preserved rocky reefs, which serve as food and shelter for various marine fauna organisms living in the Peninsula of Baja California. It is a stopover with international relevance for hammerhead sharks and four species of turtles on their migratory route.

This area is part of a Marine Priority Region recognized by the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity – CONABIO and named by the Coalition for Sustainability of the Gulf of California (2004) as one of the most important marine areas in Mexico. Espíritu Santo is part of the 244 Islands & Protected Areas of The Gulf of California UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Site Attributes



National Park

IUCN Category

Year Established

Marine Protected Area

Marine Area

Area of no-take

Governance Type
Federal or national ministry or agency

Site Agency
Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas

Site Manager
Irma Gonzalez López


EAGL Evaluation

GL Committee Submission

EAGL Chair
Dr. Victor Sánchez Cordero

ASI Reviewer
Araceli Suárez

Site Summary

The islands of Espiritu Santo Insular Complex and the adjacent waters  are within one of the great with highest biological diversity and  productive sites in southern Gulf of California. This area contains unique ecosystems and vulnerable habitats. The area has a  considerably high number of marine species, including a sea lion  rookery, as well as, perfectly preserved rocky reefs, which are feeding  sites and refuge for various organisms representative of Baja. It is also  a layover in the migration route of the hammerhead shark and four sea  turtle species, which confers relevance at an International level.

Scientist community and conservationists have recognized nationally and internationally the importance of the area, including its  biodiversity, ecosystems and habitats.

Major Site Values:

The area is part of a priority marine region recognized by CONABIO  (Arriaga –Cabrera et al., 1998), and the Coalition for the sustainability  of the Gulf of California catalogued it as one of the marine areas with the greatest biological importance in this region of Mexico. The  presence of islands, islets, rocks and reefs in the archipelago, results in  a heterogeneous congregation of habitats (mangroves, sandy bottoms,  rocky reefs, wetlands, bays), which form the basis of biodiversity of the  site and allow ecological process continuity that determine  productivity and scenic beauty of the area.

Conservation Summary

  • Site visit report
  • EAGL meeting minutes
  • EAGL consensus and vote:
  • The EAGL were unanimous in their evaluation of the site. The site is judged to meet the IUCN Green List criteria with no conditions attached.

EAGL statement:

  • Before the visit to the national park the EAGL reviewed the site information. During the visit, the Global Standard indicators were evaluated with the stakeholders based on the sources of verification. Subsequently the EAGL gave their collective opinion and that is why the candidate phase is complete and the National Park Maine area Archipelago Espíritu Santo is considered an example of a protected area well designed  with good administration and planning as well as an effective governance. It complies with the indicators of the Global Standard of the Green List of  components: Governance, Design and Planning, Effective Management and Results of Successful Conservation. The National Marine Park of  Archipelago Espiritu Santo (PNZMAES) is an example of a well-designed natural protected area with good management and planning a well effective  governance. Since its designation it has presented an example of participation in governance to reconcile interests of fishing, tourism, academic, civil  society, organizations and various government agencies. These stakeholders jointly prepared the justification study that culminated in the creation of  the park on may 10, 2007 and contribute to an effective advisory council that represents all sectors related to the protected area. PNZMAES was  basically designed to conserve diverse environmental values such as a colony of sea lions; rocky and coral reefs that are places of feeding and refuge  for several species representative of the Gulf of California; a stopover on the migration route of the hammerhead shark and the manta, threatened  species of sea turtles; in addition, it’s a nesting site of marine birds such as the Brown pelican, the tijetreta, the yellow-footed gull, blue heron and  petrels. The National Park has demonstrated that these values are being effectively conserved with successful outcomes in the context of the Mexican  marine zone. The site also successfully protects the core of one of the most important economic engines of the local area by generating a visit of  50,000 people per year and supporting at least 170 tourism companies.

Reviewer statement:

  • The reviewer takes the opportunity to comment that for Mexico, the pilot process began without an IUCN Green List User Manual, and takes 2 transitions because in the time frame 2 different versions of the IUCN Green List User Manual and IUCN Standard were published. The strength to continue with the process was the CONANP experience on developing and implementing Protected Area Management  Programs and the use of effectivity indicators (socioeconomic, biophysics, governance) based on Pomeroy Methodology. Other strength was the  EAGLs training on current IUCN Green List User Manual Version 1.1. and the IUCN Green List Standard Version 1.1, before planning and going to the  on-site visit. Other strength was the EAGLs competence and the knowledge and understanding of the Green List Core Values. In the beginning the use  of COMPASS was a weakness, but practice let to be familiar with the platform.
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