Professor Beth Waters-Earhart
Intro to Environmental Science
11 January 2018
Overfishing in the Gulf of California, Mexico
Overfishing Drivers and Opportunities for Recovery in Small-Scale Fisheries of the Midriff Islands Region, Gulf of California, Mexico: the Roles of Land and Sea Institutions in Fisheries Sustainability is a research article looking into the decline of small-scale fisheries because of the lack of regulating the rules put into place on the Gulf of California, Mexico. This research article compares two different small fisheries in Mexico to see how they could achieve sustainability.
The authors start by describing how important rules are and how they can encourage or discourage overuse of the resources these communities have (Cinti et al. 1). The authors describe a type of rule called rules-in-use, they describe them as “rules that are actually used in field settings… may differ substantially from formal laws and are not easily observable (Cinti et al. 2). Rules-in-use can sometimes be confused with formal rules which are not good for sustainability in fisheries. They conducted their study in Bahía de Los Ángeles and Bahía de Kino these communities are two most important fishing communities in the area. Regulating the marine species is a shared task in Mexico some parts are regulated by the fisheries federal agencies and the other parts are regulated by environmental side (Cinti et al. 5). These marine species include fishing license, concessions, management plans and fishing ordnances plans (Cinti et al. 5). In Bahía de Los Ángeles fishing licenses are issued for fish and invertebrates. However, they have predios for sea cucumber which last for one year and are renewable (Cinti et al. 7). The authors talk about how law enforcement is pretty much nonexistent. This makes applying for licenses or submitting catch declarations almost impossible (Cinti et al. 7). When they asked residents of the community most replied that they wanted more support from fishery authorities. They also said that authorities do not have an important role in the depletion of resources (Cinti et al. 7). When the authors looked into the fishing licenses in the communities they found that in Bahía de Los Ángeles most license holders were not fishing. They were extracting fish from other regions and claiming it as caught locally. When looking at predios they found that only four predio holders caught cucumber during their study only one of those was legitimate they others were fake (Cinti et al. 10). In both Bahía de Los Ángeles and Bahía de Kino, they do not enforce the boundaries of the fishing license or the predios they have. However, the authors explain that they protect the area belonging to their community (Cinti et al. 12). After all their research the authors concluded many things about small fisheries. They found that lack of support of the government needs addressing in these communities. They also found that formal, informal rules, management and enforcement are important. These things could lead to improvements for the future of conservation of fishery resources (Cinti et al. 16). I learned a lot from this article when I first read the title of the article it intrigued me because I didn’t realize this was an issue. As I read through the article, I learned a lot about Mexico’s fishing licenses and fishery communities. I did not realize how many different types of licenses there were or the rules put in place for them. This article gave me more knowledge on how formal and informal rules are not being enforced because if the lack of authorities in those areas. Which I feel like could be a problem in other areas too. Think after reading this article if these communities could get more enforcement of the rules and regulations in place it could help the issue of overfishing.