Author: Hiram Peña, Assistant Director
For several years there has been a decrease in the abundance of marine resources and the reduction in size of some species, especially groupers, sharks and rays, and benthic resources such as rock scallop. This decrease highlights the need to stop the exploitation of these resources and safeguard ecological processes such as reproduction.
In order to reverse this problem and to have sustainable fisheries, in 2011 the Mexican federal fisheries authority (CONAPESCA) established the first fishing refuge to create areas for reproduction of different marine species. These efforts have not been enough as there are many traditional fishermen who have no formal permits to fish. The lack of permits and insufficient resources to control the access to the resources have led to a deterioration in biological processes and increased conflicts between communities and fishermen.
These same conflicts have occurred in the Upper Gulf of California in the last years. In June 2015 CEDO started a project in collaboration with CONAPESA to promote and establish a marine spatial planning process as a tool to organize the use of coastal and open marine areas in the Puerto Peñasco – Puerto Lobos Corridor. In this first phase, the project involves the low scale fisheries sector from six communities: Puerto Peñasco, Bahía San Jorge, Punta Jagüey, Santo Tomás, Desemboque de Caborca y Puerto Lobos.
To date we have implemented a biological monitoring program in six communities in order to record up to date information of the volume of captured species. We are creating a census to register boats with and without permits to fish by community. This is just the beginning; later in the year we will develop a workshop program to increase awareness on legal issues and provide different management tools to strengthen the link between communities and the federal institutions involved in these issues.
At the end of the project we will present a series of management proposals to the fisherman and authorities involved in the process to increase sustainability fisheries in the Puerto Peñasco – Puerto Lobos corridor.