The Gulf of California Marine Program

Encouraging science innovation for sustainable oceans and communities.


Picture by Octavio Aburto

About the Initiative

The Institute of the Americas’ Gulf of California Marine Program (GCMP) works on expanding its research and programming on emerging coastal and marine policy issues of importance to Mexico. Established in 2008 as a research program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the GCMP was a part of the University of California Institute of Mexico and the United States (UCMEXUS) based at UC Riverside since 2017.

Since its establishment, the GCMP has developed a successful track record of promoting conservation and sustainable management through multidisciplinary approaches, focusing on generating, analyzing and sharing scientific information to key stakeholders and policymakers involved in shaping coastal and marine policy in Mexico.

Key Areas

Fisheries management

For over a decade, the GCMP has implemented a collaborative monitoring program with fishers from communities in the Gulf of California and the Pacific coast to generate and compile data useful in assessments that improve management and policy measures and push the fishing industry towards meeting sustainable standards while increasing economic benefits.

Land-based and seaborne pollution

Marine and coastal ecosystems, as well as the species that inhabit them, are at risk due to growing urbanization, industrial pollution (including spills from urban development, the oil sector and mining), pollution from boat and shipping industry, plastic, etc. Policies need to be based on data and information to ensure ecosystem health and resilience.

Marine biodiversity conservation

Marine ecosystems face unprecedented disturbances from human activities. To help identify environmental effects detrimental to structure, function, and health of nearshore and coastal habitats, monitoring is necessary. This data is critical for conservation and resource management, and communication of key findings is essential to strengthen efforts.

Blue carbon sequestration

Mangroves, sea grass beds and coral reefs are a conservation priority in Mexico and their role as blue carbon sinks is widely recognized. The GCMP’s research on Blue Carbon will help improve our understanding of the impact of climate change and will help identify priority areas for mangrove conservation to promote sustainable and healthy local economies and communities.

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