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CONANP is a Mexican federal agency responsible for the protection, management, and conservation of Mexico's natural protected areas. The agency is responsible for the management of more than 182 protected natural areas, including biosphere reserves, national parks, and natural monuments. Parks like the whale shark feeding zone, Balandra, Isla Espiritu Santo and the surrounding islands, Cabo Pulmo, etc., each have their own specific rules and fees.
CONANP has its own licensing requirements for entrance to national parks, and for Tour companies and private charter operations moving in and out of these protected areas. Tour operators must pay fees for every single person that enters any of the various national parks in the Sea of Cortez. These are in addition to those requirements of its parent agency SEMARNAT, which requires that Tour operators secure permits and licenses for various nautical activities. Some permits, such as those related to the Whale Shark encounters, also require annual educational classes, bilingual studies, and that company administration, boat captains, and guides, all attend separate whale shark classes, graduate and are licensed separately. In addition to commercial operational compliance with the various Port Captain’s offices, each vessel involved in activities like the whale shark encounter must be separately licensed.
CONANP was created in 2000 under the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and is responsible for implementing policies and strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of Mexico's natural resources.
CONANP's main objective is to ensure the preservation and protection of Mexico's biodiversity, ecosystems, and natural heritage. The agency also works with other government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations to achieve its objectives.