Are The Efforts To Save One Of Salina Cruz's Finest Waves Futile?
With Punta Conejo under threat of development, surfers are sounding the war cry to save this Mexican beauty.
Efforts to save pristine Punta Conejo continue to ramp up in Mexico. As soon as the unexpected news broke nearly two months ago of a proposed development, surfers, fishermen, environmentalists and local business owners sprang into action. After meeting with Mexican officials to determine the exact nature of the planned development, a war cry has been sounded out around the world.
With confirmation that there is a “development plan for the Isthmus of Tehuantepec,” U.S.-based environmental group Save The Waves has joined in the fight. Teaming up with other groups, including Reservas de Surf Mexico, A.C., Wildcoast, and Union de Surfistas y Salvavidas de Salina Cruz, A.C., they’ve been meeting with government officials, as well as circulating a petition (that you should definitely sign).
“Punta Conejo is a national treasure and should be protected,” Mara Arroyo, Save The Wave’s Mexico Regional Manager, said in a prepared statement. “While we recognize that a port expansion in the area may be necessary, we implore that the authorities pursue other viable project alternatives and recognize the cultural, biological, and economic resources that Punta Conejo provides.”
Situated in the wave-rich Salina Cruz zone in Oaxaca, which was seared into the surf world’s collective consciousness with the historic Rip Curl Search contest at Barra De La Cruz in 2006, the development plan is wide-ranging in its scope and “integrates the construction of the Interoceanic Corridor connecting the ports of Coatzacoalcos, in Veracruz, and Salina Cruz, in Oaxaca, and the introduction of new coastal infrastructure in Salina Cruz.”
“One of the concerns for the local community and the global surfing community is that the area proposed for the new industrial port will impact not only the surf break, but important ecosystems, including Playa Azul, Playa Brasil and the Salinas del Marqués lagoon,” explained Save The Waves.
Both Save The Waves and local surfers are clear-eyed about the need for some kind of development and improved infrastructure in the area to help with job creation and to bolster the local economy. They aren’t seeking to halt the development altogether, but rather find a more suitable location for it that won’t impact the surf or the wildlife.
“The local community recognizes the importance of a new port for Mexico but asks the government to explore other alternatives that avoid significant impacts for local ecosystems and waves,” Save The Waves explains. “The community and environmental conservation groups seek to establish a dialogue with the government to explore alternatives for this project.”
There can be a positive outcome in this situation. It’s going to take hearty dialog, but hopefully all concerned parties can reach some sort of agreement that is beneficial to everyone.
Punta Conejo is too good of a wave, to idyllic a spot to go down without a fight.