The Stunning Richness of Underwater Baja


Despite the bombastic choice of music, Erick Higuera’s “Baja” is a marvel of undersea life in the Sea of Cortés and along Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Higuera spent a year shooting and assembling his short film, and while he paints his environmental message in the broadest brush possible, it’s still a reminder of the tremendous diversity of life just off this desert peninsula.

And these are lives in threat. Populations of the giant manta, for example, are estimated to have fallen 30 percent worldwide over the last three generations and up to 80 percent in some regions; the beautiful ray is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “vulnerable.” Sharks, of course, are in worse shape: The IUCN says that 32 percent of open-water pelagics are threatened with extinction, both from direct fishing and bycatch. And despite advances in the passage of anti-finning laws and widespread information about the plight of sharks, demand in Asia remains high.

Well, people won’t protect what they can’t see. And Higuera’s film is a good reminder what’s just under the surface.

Environmental coverage made possible in part by support from Patagonia. For information on Patagonia and its environmental efforts, visit www.patagonia.com.

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