The Sea Delight Ocean Fund has been working closely with Sea Delight and CeDePesca in the development of a Fishery Improvement Project for the Mexican Grouper Fishery. A MSC pre-assessment was conducted in March of this year, and the full report is now available for public review. Since our first meeting in March, local fishermen’s cooperatives and federations, government entities as well as local exporters, processors, and scientific experts have participated in several subsequent meetings in which they address the current issues affecting the grouper fishery in Mexico. As a result of their own initiatives, these stakeholders have been working on a proposal/document to share with the Mexican government that describes in detail the current status of the fishery and proposes a series of concerted actions between the different actors in the fisheries sector, and thankfully, we have been a part of this conversation.
Among the proposed means there are some disagreements on whether all measures can be implemented in both industrial and artisanal fleets, but the fact remains that there is an increased awareness of the impact that overfishing has had on the resource itself as well as its social implications. As a result, stakeholders are working together to address these issues. We have a long road ahead of us and luckily, it is not a path we have to travel alone. Our efforts will not be parallel to the local initiatives and we will work together to support the measures that are being proposed and engage our supply chain to continue being an active participant.
There are no simple answers and we have to go beyond extending closure periods, increasing minimum size, enforcing regulations, increasing monitoring by working with local authorities, etc. More importantly, we need to support the fishery by being active participants in the decision-making progress. A work plan was developed and presented at a stakeholders meeting on June 4th, 2014 which took place in Progreso, Merida, and it’s evident that resources are needed to fund some of the improvements efforts and provide incentives for the fishermen to participate.
In the words of Jacques Yves Cousteau, “The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.” Hence, we will continue to work with the industry and the fishermen to develop measures to help rebuild the stock and improve the management of the fishery so that it can be maintained.
To download MSC Pre-assessment, Workplan, and view Public Report, please visit http://www.seadelightoceanfund.org/mexico.php