Effective January 9, 2023, the Mexican Government has closed Isla Guadalupe indefinitely to all diving activities, film and television productions. Essentially eliminating one of the best places on the planet to cage dive with great white sharks.
This action expands on the 2022 closure of the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), the federal agency tasked with managing Mexico’s protected natural areas.
They also closed the island to cage diving in 2021 and the pandemic closed down operations in 2020.
Article 65...Rule 65
In a quote from their just released management program "Article 65...Rule 65. White shark observation may not be carried out in the Reserve for tourist purposes, to avoid altering their habitat, behavior and feeding sites, and thereby preserve and conserve the species."
While this ruling is well-intentioned, the fear is that without cage diving operators monitoring the waters around Guadalupe island, the great white sharks are in danger from poaching and illegal fishing.
Several tour operators are negotiating with the Mexican Government to overturn this ruling but as things stand now, cage diving with Great White Sharks at Guadalupe Island is off-limits.
Risking rather than saving sharks?
Mike Lever, of Nautilus Explorer one of the operators who organise tours to Guadalupe, states:
Unfortunately, we are facing another potential park closure. We believe this will be catastrophic for the future of these beautiful great white sharks. What worries the h*ll out of me is that this shark population is going to be poached and fished out. I’ve been feeling sick about this ever since this first happened. If the government is successful with its current push, commercial fishing will be the only allowable activity at the island. The sharks need everyone’s help. We’ll continue fighting for them with everything we have. That’s our top priority.