A collaboration between Mexican governmental agencies and marine aquaculture firm Earth Ocean Farms is aiming to improve the plight of the totoaba, an endangered fish valued in Asia for its supposed medicinal properties.
Officials from Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and National Commission of Aquaculture and Fishing (CONAPESCA) released 15,000 totoaba hatchlings raised at Earth Ocean Farms into the Sea of Cortez on Thursday, 25 August, with the goal of recovering the depleted numbers of the species. The public restocking event took place in the Santispac Beach, Bahia Concepcion, Mulege, Baja California Sur.
According to Earth Ocean Farms, the totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) is an endemic species to Mexico that was once abundant in the waters of the Sea of Cortez and is now being bred and cultivated in a sustainable manner by the company, which has a hatchery and farms located in La Paz.
“This restocking project is part of an innovative plan for the recovery of the totoaba, create jobs, and diversify the state's economy,” the company said in a press release.
Mexico’s Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Rafael Pacchiano Alamán said in a statement he was encouraged by the collaboration between government and industry on behalf of the environment.
"I'm pleased to see that local residents are involved in this conservation projects for the totoaba,” Pacchiano Alamán said. “In 2015 the Comprehensive Strategy for Recovery of Marine Totoaba and Vaquita in the Upper Gulf of California was launched, and resources were allocated to promote activities associated with the conservation of both species. The involvement and participation of civil society is essential for the success of any public policy, which is why I am pleased that communities are involved in this strategy – in this case through the reproduction and release of totoaba hatchlings. This sustainable aquaculture project is an excellent collaboration between institutions, businesses and society."