June 17, 2009

France and Mexico Launching Scientific Observatory

Officials said Tuesday that France and Mexico are launching a joint observatory to unite scientific work on the environmental impact from humans and climate change on Mexico's coastlines.

French and Mexican officials said that the Jacques Cousteau observatory will include bases in La Paz, on Mexico's northwestern Baja California peninsula, and in Merida in the Yucatan in southeast Mexico.

"Up to now, there's nothing comparable to this cooperation" anywhere in the world, French ambassador to Mexico Daniel Parfait told a news conference in Mexico City.

"I'm sure it will be a model that will develop in other areas," Parfait added.

Sergio Hernandez, director general of the Center of Scientific Research of the Northwest (CIBNOR), said that the observatory aims to advise local governments on environmental protection and seek joint international funding for research.

French explorer Cousteau called Baja California the "world's aquarium" because of the rich marine life from the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez.

The surrounding waters of the tourist area are home to vaquitas or harbor porpoises, whales, dolphins, sea lions and sharks.  Its rocky coasts are home to hundreds of resident and migratory birds.


Image Credit: NASA


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