Erisman, Scripps postdoctoral researcher Octavio Aburto-Oropeza and their colleagues worked with landing records provided by Mexico's National Fisheries and Aquaculture Commission (CONAPESCA) and conduct detailed field surveys in the Gulf of California, spending several weeks in each expedition diving to document species and habitats and to speak with local fishermen about their practices.
Aburto-Oropeza says the data used in the study shed light on the economic importance of artisanal fishing practiced out of thousands of small panga boats in Northwest Mexico.
"Right now everything is managed the same way, with the idea of the largest-scale industrial fisheries of squid, tuna, shrimp and sardine," said Aburto-Oropeza. "But this study is showing that the small-scale fisheries and their landings of valuable species such as red snapper and snooks are very important. The management of the different regions in Northwest Mexico should be very different."
The sub-regions proposed by this study allow for the implementation of different management agendas such as networks of marine reserves and fisheries management plans.
For the idea to be effective, however, the researchers argue that large-scale industrial fishing activities that transect throughout Northwest Mexico would have to be curtailed. They also say the idea of customized sub-regions bolstering ecosystem-based management efforts could be applied in other areas of the world threatened by shrinking fisheries resources.
|Contact: Mario Aguilera|
University of California - San Diego