Jacques Cousteau Island
Aerial view of Jacques Cousteau Island
|Location||Gulf of California|
Baja California Sur
|Area||136 km2 (53 sq mi)|
Isla Cerralvo (Spanish: [ˈizla seˈralβo]), as is commonly named, whose official name is Isla Jacques Cousteau (French: [ʒak kusto]; Spanish: [ʝak ˈkusto]), is an island located off the Cerralvo Canal coast near La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
It is 18 miles (29 km) long with a land area of 136.498 square kilometres (52.702 sq mi), and is the ninth-largest island in Mexico. It is part of Municipality of La Paz. The island peak comes to 2,100 ft (640 m) and the ridge line runs north-south with many small streams draining east to Gulf of California and west to Cupalo Canal. There are many steep bluffs on the eastern sides and many sandy beaches and points on the west side.
There is abundant marine life surrounding this island due to underwater topography and ocean currents. Virtually all local marine life must migrate past the island and water visibility goes up to 30 meters making it a prime location for big game fishing. There are abundant golden grouper, marlin, sailfish, swordfish or broadbill, and other game fish in Cerralvo Canal waters. Views from island at dawn and sunset are very lively and filled with color.
Recent official name change
In November 17, 2009, Mexican government changed the island name from historical name "Isla Cerralvo" to "Isla Jacques Cousteau" in honor of French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910–1997) who had led many expeditions in this area.
This name change has generated annoyance and a growing resistance amongst citizens of nearby shores, in Baja California Sur state, who were not consulted; they insist on keeping the name "Isla Cerralvo". This resistance is also supported by many people in other Mexican regions.
Mexican senators Luis Alberto Coppola Joffroy, Sebastian Calderón Centeno and Humberto Andrade Quezada, from Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) initiated a resolution to request different Mexican authorities to inform the decree where change of name was adopted.
Also senator Francisco Javier Obregón Espinoza has introduced a resolution in the Mexican Congress requesting the name change be reversed. Leading Mexican intellectuals such as Miguel León-Portilla (a former UNESCO director) have also voiced opposition to the name change.
- "Le Mexique rebaptise une de ses îles "Jacques Cousteau"", Le Monde, November 17, 2009.
- "Punto de acuerdo por el que se exhorta al ejecutivo federal a revocar el cambio de nombre de la Isla Cerralvo...", Archivo del Congreso, November 26, 2009.
- "¿Borrar la historia? El caso de la isla Cerralvo", La Jornada, November 24, 2009.