Fishery Improvement Project
Last Update: October 2019
Red Grouper (Epinephelus morio)
Black Grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci)
FIP Stage according to CASS progress table: 4, FIP is delivering improvement in practices
FIP Rating according to SFP rating system: A (Advanced Progress, Dec 2018)
FIP Rating according to MSC benchmarking tool (based on red grouper): Initial (June 2014): 0.50; Second (Oct 2015): 0.50; Current (Dec 2018): 0.57;
[* In September 2016, CeDePesca translated the original scores of this FIP (set against the MSC standard v1.3) to the MSC standard v2.0. The rationale for the setting of scores for the updated performance indicators is shown here. As of that date, the MSC BMT scores are to be issued against the MSC standard v2.0.]
FIP Profile at FisheryProgress.org: Mexico (Yucatan) red and black grouper FIP – longline (Apr 2017)
Campeche Bank in Gulf of México
FIP Coordination: If you would like more information about the FIP or if wish to support it, please contact Minerva Alonso.
- Sea Delight (US importer)
- Atlántida del Sur (local exporter)
- Handy International (US importer)
- Chefs trading Co (US importer)
- Pesmar (local exporter)
- Quirch Foods (US importer)
- Netuno USA (US importer)
- Orca (local exporter)
- Comercial Oceánica (local exporter)
- Combamar (local exporter)
- Federación Regional de Cooperativas del Centro-Poniente del estado de Yucatán (Fed-Pte, local producer)
- Federación Regional de Sociedades Cooperativas Pesqueras, Turísticas, Acuícolas y artesanales del Estado de Yucatán, S.C. de R.L.
- Cooperativa La Pobre de Dios (local producer)
- CeDePesca (technical coordination)
Publicly Announced Date: April 2014
Current Improvement Recommendations:
- Establishment of a consistent recovery strategy, through the reduction of fishing efforts.
- Define a research plan that includes data collection of target and non-target species of the fishery and the impacts on ecosystems function.
- Help establish participatory mechanisms both to collect information and to disseminate the results of scientific analysis.
- Discussion of measures that allows a more reliable statistics system.
- Establishment of an adequate Management plan based on stock assessments to control harvest levels.
- Establishment of a participatory mechanism to assess the performance of the Management plan.
Red grouper and black grouper are two of the main species harvested in a mixed demersal fishery at the Bank of Campeche. They are caught using bottom longlines. Traditionally, three fleets have been active: Mexican industrial (about 515 vessels) and artisanal vessels (about 6,000 vessels) and a small fishery specific Cuban industrial fleet, the latter no longer active.
This fishery is of extreme social importance for Yucatan coastal communities, since more than 10 thousand families make a livelihood of it, and this fishery sustain families´ incomes between the seasons of more profitable fisheries such as octopus, lobster and sea cucumber.
In past years, red grouper has been the most important specie, but industry reports that more recently black grouper is predominant, although this is not the case in the artisanal sector. This fishery is an important source of livelihood in the Yucatán Peninsula.
Red grouper has a marine estuarine dependent life cycle. They spawn off-shore, migrate in-shore to bays and lagoons as larva before migrating once again as juveniles. Black grouper spawn area is unknown. Red and Black grouper are slow-growing fishes that begin life as females and transition to males.
A number of management measures have been implemented – most notably limited entry (that is not effective in the artisanal fishery), a closed season to protect spawning aggregations, a minimum landing size (not effective) and a minimum hook size. The fishery is seasonal with the total level of effort in a year very much dependent on the opportunities in the more profitable fisheries for octopus and beche-de-mer. In fact, the option to switch fisheries is probably one of the most important characteristics reducing effort on the grouper stocks and preventing or delaying their collapse.
In the past, substantial research has been carried out on many aspects of the red grouper stock and the biology of the species is well known. From the research it is clear that the species is over fished and over fishing is continuing; the stock is below the limit reference point defined by INAPESCA of 78,000 mt and substantially below the target reference point of 124,478 mt (50 % of the estimated virgin biomass).
In contrast, little is known about black grouper.
In October 2014, CeDePesca issued a Proposal for the Management of Groupers and Associated species which has been being disseminated since then between authorities, industry and fishermen.
In November 2014, the ruling document, “Plan de Manejo de Mero y especies asociadas” (Management Plan for Grouper and Associated species) was published. Even if it has been a progress having this official document in place, it has not introduced substantial progress to the management system of the fishery.
In February 2015, Conapesca published a measure to increase the fishing closure from one to two months, from February 1st to March 31st. However, in 2016, the fishing closure operated only from February 1st until March 11th.
Problems /Key issues in these fisheries are:
- Lack of implementation of effective management strategies to regulate fishing effort.
- Insufficient information on fisheries by-catch species.
- Lack of systematic information about interactions with ecosystem components.
- Lack of incentives for sustainable fishing.
- Collaborate to develop a consistent recovery strategy, through the reduction of fishing effort and control of harvest levels.
- Collaborate in the establishment of a management system reform to rebuild overfished stocks.
- Promote implementation of an adequate Research Plan and the timely dissemination of results.
- Conduct a Risk Analysis.
Framework agreement for Mexico Grouper Fishery Improvement Project was signed by Sea-Delight Ocean Fund, Inc., Atlántida del Sur, S.A. de C.V and CeDePesca in mid January.
In March, FIP partners contracted Intertek Moody Marine to conduct an MSC pre-assessment.
In May, there were several contacts with stakeholders through meetings of the Grouper System Committee of Yucatán (Comité Estatal Sistema Producto Mero Yucatán). In late May, the MSC pre-assessment draft was received and a FIP workplan was developed.
In June, the FIP workplan was presented to stakeholders at a meeting that took place on June 4th 2014 in Progreso, México. The final draft of the MSC pre-assessment was received in mid-June and is being translated into Spanish in order to make it available to stakeholders.
In July, CeDePesca participated in a workshop organized by the CONMECOOP (Confederación Mexicana de Cooperativas Pesqueras y Acuícolas, Mexican Confederation of fisheries and aquaculture cooperatives) as an advisor to analyze and develop a group of proposals to improve Fisheries and Aquaculture Governance where the grouper case was presented.
Along the quarter several meetings have been conducted to promote the establishment of a consistent recovery strategy for Grouper fisheries and related species; participating FIP suppliers, fishermen, processors and exporters leaders with local and Federal Authorities leaded by Comite Sistema Producto Mero and accompanied by CeDePesca. Among other initiatives, there is a wide consensus to enhance the closure season from one to two months as of 2015.
In September, CeDePesca organized a meeting to disseminate good Chilean artisanal fisheries practices. Mr. José Alvarado, President of the Artisanal Fishermen Federation of Hualaihue, involved in a FIP in Chile, presented “Learning from experience: How Chile’s artisanal hake fisheries have been organized with the participation of fishermen” to local Fishermen from Dzilam de Bravo and Telchac, Yucatan. The purpose was to introduce a discussion about rights-based options as a solution to rebuild and keep sustainable the grouper fishery.
In September, Federal Government initiated a regional survey and workshops to discuss the document called “Management Plan for grouper and associated species”. This document will be complement of the existing regulations. CeDePesca, stakeholders, fishermen leaders, scientists and Government Officials from Quintana Roo and Yucatán will be participating in the discussions. The first discussion meeting in Yucatan will take place on December 3th-4th in Mérida.
In October, within the frame of resolution NOM-065-PESC-2007 to regulate groupers and associated species fisheries and after a discussion with FIP partners, CeDePesca presented its Proposal for Management of Campeche Bank Grouper and Associated Species and started to introduce the proposal with local stakeholders.
In November 25th, 2014 the official document: “Plan de Manejo Pesquero de Mero (Epinephelus morio) y especies asociadas en la Península de Yucatán” was published in the Official Mexican Government Law Journal. Some of the key objectives established in the document are to promote protection of reproduction through modifying the closure season from one to two months and to protect juveniles through the modification of the minimum hook size and size limits. This Law is the frame reference to develop the management strategy for the fishery. Although it is an advance to have this frame document, it does not introduce substantial progress to the current management frame.
In January and February, despite the “Management Plan” approved in November 2014 and several discussions with authorities and local leaders to promote strategies that could help the fishery, no agreements had been taken, and finally the closure will be just for one month. However, a measure was published by CONAPESCA in late February to increase the fishing closure from one to two months as of the 2016 season.
Since February, along the fishing closure, CeDePesca has been developing workshops in different communities to discuss its proposal with local fishermen in San Felipe, Progreso, Rio Lagartos, Las Coloradas and Chuburná, with the participation of 186 fishermen that were able to hear scientific information of the fishery, a case of successful management in Chile, and our proposal. It was perceptible a collective surprise when the fishermen realized the magnitude of the problem, and the importance of taking effective long term actions.
Following discussions between authorities and local leaders at the State Fishery Council which took place last June, agreements were finally reached to accept a two months fishing closure during 2016, in accordance to current laws. Most of CeDePesca’s specific proposals for improving the fishery were included in the document presented by the Grouper Fishery Sector (Fishermen and business owners representing the Yucatan fishing communities) and presented directly to local and federal authorities.
Several Local Committees had been formed in order to review fishing vessel permits and registered fishermen in mayor Coastal Communities. Celestun, Dzilam de Bravo, San Felipe and Rio Lagartos are working already in regards to this matter. Local leaders participate from these Committees and will present their review to authorities; this is the first step in order to update information that will help to control illegal fishing. On September 8th and 9th , the State Government and FAO developed a workshop to analyze and validate specific actions to be included in the document: “Plan Rector de la Pesca y Acuacultura del estado de Yucatan”. This document is scheduled to be published on January 2016, and it contains some actions that if taken, can help Yucatan fisheries in general and the grouper fishery in particular in attaining sustainability. Special attention to Yucatan had been taken by Federal Government since General Directors of SAGARPA, CONAPESCA and INAPESCA have visited Yucatan and analyzed with local leaders the problems related to fisheries.
In accordance with the FIP objective of implementing a management plan based on updated and accurate information and a participatory scheme, the local Committees officially named as “Fisheries Management Nautical Committees” (Comités Nauticos de Ordenamiento Pesquero) -with official recognition by the State Government- were established in Sisal, Progreso, Chelem, Telchac and other coastal communities. Their more relevant work will be to validate and update the fishermen census in order to initiate discussions to update fisheries permits and to fairly distribute the closure season subsidies. This validated information will also be important to determine real fishing effort.
This is not the first time that these Committees have been summoned, but fishermen were reluctant to participate because of a past lack of results. CeDePesca-Yucatan followed closely the development of the negotiations, in order to encourage fishermen to fully participate and make this tool effective.
Along this quarter, CeDePesca also held discussions with recognized local scientists, in order to determine what would be the most important and practical information that fishermen should provide in order to improve the stock assessments.
During this period, a group of recently published ruling documents set the opportunity for official discussions of effective management strategies, including a quota-per-fleet system in order to regulate fishing effort.
The draft version of “Ordenamiento Pesquero de mero en la Península de Yucatan” (Grouper Fisheries Management in the Yucatan Peninsula) published on January, includes among other strategies, the possibility of establishing a Catch Quota System per fleet.
During an extraordinary session of the Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Council of Yucatan, the document “Plan Rector para el Desarrollo de la Pesca y la Acuacultura Sostenibles de Yucatán” (Guiding Plan for Sustainable Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Yucatan) was presented, along with “Diagnóstico de los Sectores de la Pesca y la Acuacultura en el Estado de Yucatán” (Diagnosis of the Fisheries and Aquaculture sectors in the State of Yucatan). These documents describe among others, the importance of reducing fishing mortality in order to promote sustainability, and the need of improving our knowledge of by-catch species related to grouper fishery. CeDePesca played an important role in the preparation of this documents.
At the same time, CeDePesca worked with fishermen from Chicxulub Port in order to improve Good Manufacturing Practices and to promote a better register of catches.
In February, Handy International was welcomed to the FIP. An updated Framework Collaboration Agreement was signed to this effect, as was a Specific Agreement for 2016.
In early March, in the context of Boston’s Seafood Expo North America, Chefs Trading and Quirch Foods expressed their interest in becoming part of the FIP. An addendum to the Framework Collaboration Agreement has been already signed to welcome Chefs Trading, as well as a Specific Agreement for 2016.
On the other hand, on March 16th, a second addendum was signed to welcome local exporter Pescados y Mariscos del Caribe (PESMAR), as well as a Specific Agreement for 2016.
In April, a third addendum to the Framework Collaboration agreement was signed welcoming Quirch Foods to the FIP partners group, as well as a Specific Agreement for 2016.
On the other hand, the FIP workplan for 2016 was revised by CeDePesca considering the recent inclusion of new partners.
Also in April, a workshop took place with fishermen from Chabihau Port in order to present information of grouper fishery and the FIP’s management proposal.
As of May, data collection activities related to the FIP have started in the communities of Sisal and Chicxulub Port with the participation of fishers, in order to improve current information on the grouper fishery. Although, the data collected so far is useful, some improvements will be made to make the process easier and more straightforward.
In July, CeDePesca conducted a presentation for skippers at the “Sea Fest Fish Tournament” in order to provide information about the Mexican grouper fishery and promote awareness of the importance of following regulations.
From August 16th to 18th, CeDePesca participated from a workshop on “Fisheries management through diverse property rights based system”. From August 30th to 31st, CeDePesca and FIP members participated from the workshop “Regional FIP: México, Centroamerica and Caribe”. Discussions related to the global FIPs landscape, structure and design of FIPs took place with several non-governmental organizations, government representatives and researchers.
CeDePesca collaborated in the organization and promotion of a meeting of the “Barco Abierto” initiative jointly with the Fisheries Group of CINVESTAV. The meeting was held on September 9th to discuss with stakeholders the 10 proposals related to fisheries management improvement to be presented on October 4th to national Senators. The meeting took place at Cinvestav and there were about 24 participants from the Government, scientific institutes, fishers, private sector among others.
Also in September, a document presenting CeDePesca’s position in relation to the grouper fishery and on why the sea cucumber quota system had failed in Yucatan was sent to several authorities and media outlets.
On October 4th, CeDePesca took part in the “Workshop for the Follow-up of the First Forum for Strengthening Participation in Fisheries Public Policy”. The workshop took place at the Mexican Senate and the results from the “Barco Abierto” initiative that aims at promoting the improvement of fisheries policy through social participation were officially presented.
From October 17th to 21st, CeDePesca and FIP members participated from the workshops on sustainability and fisheries certification that were organized by the Mexican Senate. This event was organized by the Senate’s Fisheries Commission and offered a very important forum to present the challenges faced by this FIP. It is expected that this presentation will provoke top-level discussions among decision makers.
On the other hand, CeDePesca`s Proposal for the Management of Groupers and Associated species was presented to Senator Ernesto Ruffo Appel and Senator Diva Gastelum Bajo, President and Secretary of the Fisheries Commission of the Mexican Senate.
On November 22nd, CeDePesca participated from the Symposium “México as part of the International Fisheries Activities” that also took place at the Mexican Senate. During this event, CeDePesca shared its experience as an active stakeholder in the management of diverse shared fisheries in Latin America, as well as its approach towards finding a path for improving fisheries sustainability.
In the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity`s 13th Conference of the Parties (COP 13), CeDePesca participated in the Fisheries Sustainability Meeting to raise awareness on fishery improvement needs.
During this quarter, data collection activities related to the grouper fishery have continued with the participation of fishers and FIP partners. Although the data collected so far is useful, it still needs to be strengthened. The database has been offered to several local researchers in order to promote collaborations and improve basic data collection efforts.
On December 17th, ten fishermen leaders participated in the workshop “Grouper Fisheries at Yucatan: Obstacles and the search for solutions” organized by CeDePesca. At this workshop, local leaders analyzed the problems they are facing and a discussion of the possible future scenarios faced by the fishery took place.
Regarding the fishing closure for 2016, authorities had first decided that the two-month closure would be effective in two periods: from February 1st to March 11th, 2016 and from December 15th 2016 to January 3rd 2017. This second period was not implemented by authorities because of social pressure, and a new commitment has been made to respect the rule in 2017. In this regard, it should be noted that artisanal and semi-industrial fishers reported that during the last two weeks of December, they only worked for 5 and 10 days respectively due to climate conditions.
On the other hand, on December 23rd, CeDePesca sent a letter to the CRIP-Yucaltepén informing them on the new measures taken by the State of Florida (USA) in regards to minimum import sizes and requesting participation in the Grouper Management Committee.
On January 12th-13th at Merida, CeDePesca participated of the VII Meeting on Fishing Management Alternatives where discussions on Mexican fisheries took place. A poster explaining the FIP was presented at the meeting.
Also, two meetings with fishers took place in order to present the “Committee of Sustainable Management of the Grouper Fishery”. The goal of the meetings was to promote fishers involvement and to help them achieve a better understanding of the responsibilities, scope and possible status of this figure that is expected to be set by CONAPESCA in the near future.
On March 20th, FIP partners carried out a meeting at the Seafood Expo North America in Boston to present the advances of the FIP. Also, at the trade show, the opportunity was seized to discuss the FIP with the National Fisheries Commissioner (CONAPESCA).
Also during this quarter, a two-month fishing closure was effective from February 1st to March 30th for the first time. The legal document setting up the measure was updated on March 3rd to expand the closure area to include the state of Tabasco.
On the other hand, FIP partners have welcomed Orca Seafoods, Comercial Oceánica and Netuno USA into the project.
During this quarter, CeDePesca has been taking part of the collaborative initiative “Barco Abierto” to promote the strengthening of social participation in the setting of National Fisheries Policy. Meetings were conducted on April 26th and on June 21st at the Mexican Senate, aiming at promoting the improvement of fisheries policy through social participation. Currently, a specific proposal that includes all the voices that had been part of the initiative is taking form and is being reviewed by the Technical Commission of the Fisheries Commission of the Senate.
The Senate’s Fisheries Commission and CONAPESCA are promoting social participation through Regional Consultation Forums. On June 3rd, CeDePesca presented its proposals for the Mexican grouper fishery at the “Regional Consultation Forum with Fisheries and Aquaculture Sectors of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico toward Sustainable Fisheries”, that took place at the University del Sur, in Cancun, Quintana Roo. Some of the initiatives that were presented were:
- The need to establish the “Committee of Sustainable Management of the Grouper Fishery” either only for Grouper or including other important species of the region;
- The need to avoid illegal fishing through a better control of legal documentation; and,
- The need to implement a special register so no artisanal boat is sold without the according permits.
Also during this quarter, in continuing to raise awareness in the community, CeDePesca presented the FIP to students of the career on “Sustainable Management of Coastal Zones” of the National University of Mexico (UNAM) on April 5th at the UMDI in Sisal. The presentation aimed at raising awareness on the challenges faced by the grouper fishery and at presenting the FIP and its progress. In addition, in collaboration with representatives 2 elementary school students and to high-school 3rd grade students in Sisal, Yucatán. These kids and teenagers are fishers’ sons and daughters and some of them are expected to become fishers as well. This initiative will continue to be improved and repeated in local fishing communities to promote awareness and knowledge of fishery challenges.
A special meeting with fishers who represent 17 cooperatives took place in Chicxulub Port on July 8th in order to present information about the project and to present the “Committee of Sustainable Management of the Grouper Fishery”. The goal of the meetings was to promote fishers involvement in solving the issue of having uncertain catch records and to help them achieve a better understanding of the responsibilities, scope and possible status of this figure that is expected to be set by CONAPESCA in the near future.
Also, CeDePesca has been following up with the collaborative initiative “Barco Abierto” to promote the strengthening of social participation in the setting of the National Fisheries Policy. On September 6th, modifications to articles 1, 2. 22, 22 bis, 23. 23 bis, and some transitories were presented and analyzed. This is the last meeting in order to be analyzed by the Fisheries Commission and to be presented to the Mexican Congress.
Also during this quarter, data collection activities related to the grouper fishery have continued with the participation of fishers and FIP partners.
On the other hand, in August, FIP partners have welcomed Combamar into the project.
As part of the project Implementation of the Strategic Action Program of the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem” FAO is taking some actions to promote the conservation and restoration of the coastal and marine ecosystem through community participation. Within this framework, CeDePesca had a meeting with FAO representative to analyze the grouper fishery problematic and promote coordination of actions.
On October 27th, CeDePesca gave a conference to students of the career on “Sustainable Management of Coastal Zones” of the National University of Mexico (UNAM) at the UMDI in Sisal. This conference was a follow up to promote the analysis of local fisheries problematics, seek for possible solutions, and provide them with different qualitative tools.
CeDePesca participated in the 70th Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute at Mérida, México and the TBTI sessions analyzing artisanal fisheries in the Caribbean and Latin America. At the special session of Gender in Fisheries Team (GIFT) our mexican representative Minerva Alonso was recognized by her leadership seeking for fisheries sustainability.
On October at Merida, CeDePesca participated of the Introduction Workshop of Right Based Fisheries Management (RBFM) organized by EDF. Representatives from local leaders, managers and scientists reunited to have a better understanding of RBFM.
In order to share lessons learned, successes, and challenges across PROME´s, CeDePesca presented the Mexican grouper case at the Latin America FIP Community of Practice Workshop form November 14th to 16th at Viña del Mar Chile. Several members of the FIP and Mexican authorities assisted the discussions.
As part of an analysis to develop a proposal of a public policy model for agriculture, food and forestry sectors CeDePesca participated as an expert in a virtual interview to analyze fisheries issues developed by the National Agricultural Council bringing our experience in Latin America Fisheries.
In December the “Committee of Sustainable Management of the Grouper Fishery” had been implemented participating Conapesca, Inapesca and 8 local leaders, 4 of them representing artisanal fisheries and the other 4 representing industrial fisheries. It is a great achievement, in which several organizations have contributed and which we hope will be the basis for a fastest improvement of the fishery.
Conapesca, CeDePesca and Fubigemar signed an agreement to develop the project “Strengthening the Management of the Grouper Fishery and Associated Species at Yucatan and Quintana Roo”. Within this Project CeDePesca will implement 76 events with local fishermen in order to promote a better register of their catches, raise awareness on the challenges faced by the grouper fishery and seek for collaborative solutions, among others. These events will take place in 26 coastal communities of Yucatan and Quintana Roo.
As part of the project “Strengthening the Management of the Grouper Fishery and Associated Species at Yucatan and Quintana Roo”. Within this Project CeDePesca implemented 70 events with the participation of 1241 local fishermen in order to promote a better register of their catches, raise awareness on the challenges faced by the grouper fishery and seek for collaborative solutions, among others. These events took place in 26 coastal communities of Yucatan and Quintana Roo. This project expects to encourage the improvement of fishing registry and the implementation of traceability programs.
As a result of the collaboration with the Fisheries and Aquaculture Committee of the LXIII congress legislature, we participated in the «Meeting of the Legislative Power with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) dedicated to Fisheries and Aquaculture issues in the Senate of the Republic. This event presented the results of the collaboration with the Senate in which we participated for the last two years.
As part of the continuous data collection among fishers and exporters, the database is being extended permanently.
On February 14-15 CeDePesca shared lessons learned, challenges and opportunities in the Grouper Artisanal Fishery in the “Latin American Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum, 2018”.
In order to raise awareness in the domestic market regarding the importance of not indulging in buying illegal practices, links with key restaurant sector were established. Collaboration with Chefs and restaurants through the Initiative: I take care for grouper… (“Yo Cuido al Mero…) The initiative was presented through a press conference chaired by local and federal government authorities and representants of fishermen and seafood industry. Awareness information is being presented through tentcards, cards at local restaurants and special events and disseminated through social media. Two local hotels, twelve Chefs and one Chef School are already participating in the initiative raising awareness and promoting consumption of sustainable products.
As a member of COMEPESCA, we promoted the participation of 9 new local chefs as Ambassadors of the #pesca con futuro initiative. We actively collaborate in the Editorial Committee and the Board meetings in order to contribute and to promote alignment of the work program with sustainability of fisheries.
Fisheries and Aquaculture Yucatan Secretary undertook to include a dissemination campaign in his work program to support the dissemination of messages in order to promote grouper responsible consumption and avoid illegal fishing. This campaign is already in preparation and is to be initiated as of February 2019 during the fishing closure.
In November 2018, educational workshops were imparted to 120 students from 5th and 6th grade elementary school at the coastal Community of Celestun in collaboration with representatives of UMDI-SISAL named “Fish for the Future”. These kids are fishers’ sons and daughters and some of them are expected to become fishers as well. Furthermore, Celestun is recognized as one of the coastal communities with more social conflicts and illegal fishing in the Yucatan.
Two workshops were held in october-november, in collaboration with Causa Natura, A.C. in order to improve our work through incidence in public policies. We analyzed the root cause that permits illegal fishing and slows traceability of products and generated specific actions in collaboration with fishermen.
Since its formation in December 2017, the “Committee of Sustainable Management of the Grouper Fishery” had held 10 meetings. Conapesca, Inapesca and 8 local leaders, 4 of them representing artisanal fisheries and the other 4 representing industrial fisheries participate in it. Its work stands for collaboration of several stakeholders and collaboration analyzing and generating specific actions to improve the fishery. The National Executive Director of INAPESCA chaired the seventh meeting. Some of the topics analyzed along the meetings are specific collaboration actions to avoid illegal fishing, analysis of fishery rules, collaboration and better organization between government institutions among others.
Three meetings of the “Committee of Sustainable Management of the Grouper Fishery” had taken place in this period. The most relevant issues taken into consideration in those meetings are: collaborations with the purpose of improving inspection and surveillance especially during the grouper closure, coordination of actions between agencies (SEMAR, SPV, SEPASY among others), organized fishing sector and NGOs, reports of illegal fishing to the authorities, among others. As part of our collaboration with the state government we participated in the workshop to develop the “Yucatan State Plan to develop fishing and aquaculture sectors”.
As a member of Comepesca and representative of the grouper fishery, we collaborated in the development of three videos of sustainability of grouper, swimming crab and octopus. The videos were presented in a special event to the organized fishing sector, journalists, state authorities and a representative of Conapesca on January 17 in Mérida. These videos have been delivered and disseminated through social networks to our partners, fishermen, authorities and journalists. CeDePesca promoted its continuous presentation in some of the restaurants that collaborate with the grouper project. Before the recent change of federal government, on January 31 we participated in an event at the CDMX to present the activities of Comepesca to the Director of Development of Conapesca.
In this period the integration of the «Committee of Sustainable Management of the Grouper Fishery» with the «Network of Researchers of Grouper» was formalized. Given the limitations in state and federal funds to carry out actions around the fishery as the first concrete action of collaboration, the workshop «Establishment of priorities in the research and management of the grouper fishery» carried out on March 7, 2019 with the participation of around 50 people representing authorities, researchers, fishing leaders and ONG’s.
One of the consequences of the recent change of federal government is the transformation of federal institutions. As part of this transformation since last December, powers have been removed from the fishing federal subdelegates in such a way that they can not sign official documents permits and other government actions. During this period, all the procedures must be sent to the central offices, increasing costs, making the procedures difficult and increasing the response time itself. Given this situation, the State Fisheries Council was established, opening the possibility of collaboration to other fisheries and strengthening the integration of collaboration between authorities and the organized fishing sector. In this meeting State fisheries and aquaculture secretariat (SEPASY) presented the updated sector information obtained during the grouper closure.
The “Committee for the Sustainable Management of the Grouper Fishery” held two meetings in this period working collaboratively. As part of the commitments established in these meetings SEPASY had developed at least two strategic actions: a communication strategy to inform general public about the fishery including sport fishing and initiated the Census to update information about fishermen (legal and illegal) and fishing vessels.
A special meeting with around 100 Telchac Puerto fishermen had been held in order to disseminate scientific information of the status of the grouper fishery.
A traceability proposal has been presented to the Comittee for the Sustainable Management of the Grouper Fishery in the 13th meeting held on june 13th. This proposal includes the use of an electronic platform for fishing registration with technology developed in Mérida. The objective is to achieve a rapprochement between the developer and the organized fishing population and the government that allows its use at an accessible price. The proposal was accepted, the approaches are being carried out in order to build the bridges to eventually achieve its implementation. Some problems must be solved before this can be implemented as of the Census and registration of legal vessels must be updated before its implementation and find external support in order to decrease costs.
The “Committee for the Sustainable Management of the Grouper Fishery” held one meeting in this period. Several proposals were presented in order to protect grouper populations as an increment in minimum legal size, closure, and the implementation of Fishing Shelter Areas. No agreements were established, however the Fishing Shelter Areas were the management tool with the highest level of approval.
The Latin American Summitt of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sustainability was held in Mérida on September 5th and 6th. Discussions in relation to sustainability, certifications, markets, investment, success stories and trends were held. Our partners shared experiences and work done by the FIP and other stakeholders. As members of Comepesca, we collaborated in the organization of it.
The Open Government Partnership is an initiative with the objective of building commitments that contribute to transparency, accountability, citizen participation and technological innovation in governments, in order to strengthen governance and fight corruption. Along the year we participated in the meetings to build the upcoming 4th action plan named as “Citizen advocacy for sustainable rural development” that includes fisheries and aquaculture sectors. This initiative will be launched officially in January 2020.
Two workshops were held in this period, the first one in collaboration with Causa Natura, A.C. in order to present the initiative “Pescando datos” to fishermen and sector representatives in order to make it available. The second one was a presentation of “The grouper fishery, an insight to quotas per fleet and Fishing Shelter Areas”, to fishermen in Telchac Puerto on November 19th.
The «Network of Researchers of Grouper» is preparing a book of the research results in regard of grouper fishery. The FIP is collaborator in the chapter dedicated to management.
An introductory presentation in the launch of the “Colectivo Maya”, a public commitment of regional chefs in order to promote the voice of sustainability and support the market of sustainable fish.