California coast at risk from hotel development

“The migratory voyage of gray whales as seen in the recent BBC television series The Blue Planet may be at risk if plans to develop a beach resort in the state of Baja, California go ahead.

The Mexican government has said it would spend around $207m in developing Puerto Escondido-Loreto as part of a $1bn development plan scheduled for the next five to seven years. The remainder of the funding is expected to come from the private sector.

The complex would include a golf course, a marina, three hotels, a port, two recreation centres, two restaurants, condominiums and shopping centres and is expected to create around 35,000 jobs and by 2015, draw around 700,000 visitors a year.

The project is part of a wider plan by the government of Mexican President Vicente Fox, a businessman-turned-politician, to exploit much of the pacific coast for tourism.

But environmentalists believe such exploitation would harm the region’s delicate ecology, a fundamental part of which is the 6,200mile annual migration of gray whales from the Arctic to Mexico’s Pacific coast to breed.