Mike McGettigan has always had an interest in the Sea. He worked summers commercial fishing for salmon in the Columbia River while going to college. After graduating from Portland State University in 1965, Mike worked as a production Engineer for Tektronix and Omark Industries. He went into business for himself in 1967. In 1973 he bought his first boat in Mexico, spending that year cruising through the Sea of Cortez. In 1977 he came back to the Sea of Cortez on the Ambar I, the first of three boats he has had in the Sea. Since then, he has spent 25 years fishing and diving the waters between Costa Rica and San Diego on a full time basis. He has traveled over 350,000 miles in these waters and has made over 130 trips to the Revillagigedo Islands, which are located 250 miles south of Cabo San Lucas. He is an ardent free diver and spearfisherman and co-produced the classic video, “Blue Water Hunter”. The famous documentary on the Sea of Cortez by Howard Hall “ Shadows in a Desert Sea” and Stan Waterman’s biography, “The Man Who Loves Sharks” were also made on his boat.
After watching first hand the rapid destruction of many fisheries in the Sea of Cortez during the late 1970s and 1980, McGettigan founded Sea Watch, an organization dedicated to exposing the destructive and often illegal fishing practices in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Their initial work lead to many articles, TV reports and eventually led to a major expose by the Sacramento Bee. Sea Watch work at the Revillagigedo Islands led to protection for the Giant Pacific Manta and Whale Shark and helped focus the attention of Mexico on this beautiful Eastern Pacific Archipelago. Mexico has since made these Islands a protected biosphere and his work was recognized in the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 1996. His organization initiated the first artificial Reef program in the Sea of Cortez and has kept up constant surveillance at the Islands reporting and publicizing illegal fishing. Last year they were the first to report large numbers of longliners working off Mexico’s Pacific coast. Mr. McGettigan has a great working knowledge of what is happening in these Eastern Pacific waters and is most concerned about the dramatic decreases in both reef and pelagic fisheries that has taken place in the last 25 years.