Cabo Pulmo Marine Biologist Captures Spectacular “Fish Tornado” On Video

Octavio Aburto captured thousands of shoaling jacks in a tornado-like embrace.

Fish tornado. Photo by Octavio Aburto

Octavio Aburto, a marine biologist and photographer recently captured a stunning series of images and video at the Cabo Pulmo National Park in Mexico showing thousands of shoaling jacks in a tight embrace during courtship. Called the fish tornado, the video and accompanying images are making their rounds on the Internet, and with no surprise because the imagery is absolutely stunning.

In capturing the footage, Aburto told the Mission Blue Sylvia Earle Alliance that he hopes his imagery will invoke an appreciation for the world under the sea, and for Cabo Pulmo National Park in particular. He hopes that the imagery will also “bring attention to other successful marine reserves, especially in Latin America.”

Aburto, who does his marine research at Cabo Pulmo, captured the imagery in November 2012, but said that it has been in his mind for three years, since he first saw the school of fish in a tornado-like embrace. The man on the ocean floor is Aburto’s colleague David Castro, a dive master at the Cabo Pulmo Divers shop who according to Aburto, is an activist working tirelessly to protect Cabo Pulmo.

Aburto told Mission Blue that he wants to share his photos and video imagery with the world to give a visual voice to the plight of the world’s oceans, to raise awareness with regard to what is happening at Cabo Pulmo, and bring attention to other successful marine reserves around the world. He also want to work with coastal communities to show the world that marine reserves are better options for coastal development and that these reserves can serve as good role models for sustainable coastal development.

Cabo Pulmo is 7,111 hectares of land and surrounding water and its hard coral reef is home to more than 800 species of marine animals including corals such as Pocillopora verrucosa and Pocillopora capitata, and marine invertebrate species including the Wood’s brown cone (Conus brunneus) and the prince cone (C. princeps). It was dedicated a marine preserve by the government of Mexico in 1995 and since then, has experienced a 463 percent increase in the number of fish in the reserve, according to a study published in the PLoS ONE journal

In June 2012, then President Felipe Calderon announced that he had canceled a planned $2 billion tourist resort just three miles from the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park. The resort was still in the planning stages by Spanish developer Hansa Urbana and was to include 15 hotels, golf courses, a marina and a landing strip for airplanes. The reef is safe, for now, and Aburto wants to ensure that it stays in its pristine form, unaffected by the developers who surely have their eye on this area of Mexico.

Check the fish tornado captured by Octavio Aburto at the Cab Pulmo National Park in Mexico.

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Fish · Lifestyle