Mexico’s Yucatan state authorities call for grouper quota system

Published on
January 25, 2021

Mexico’s Yucatan State Fisheries Council is asking federal authorities to implement a quota system for the local grouper fishery, according to Yucatan State Secretary of Fisheries Rafael Combaluzier.

“We have agreed at the state fisheries council that a quota system should be implemented for grouper, octopus, and some other fisheries,” Combaluzier said during an interview on local news website EstamosAquí MX. “Allocating quota per fishers cooperatives, pricing in accordance with those meeting the rules, reporting catches, and billing them and even increasing them at expenses of those that are not reporting or using the licenses to ‘wash’ illegal catch can be a very good tool to place controls and adequately manage the fishery.”

Other institutions, including the Fisheries Cooperatives Federation of Western-Central Yucatan and the Regional Federation of Fishing Cooperative Societies, have expressed support for the implementation of a catch limit for the state’s grouper fishery.

The fishery has a significant social impact in the Yucatan’s fishing communities, but the various groupers' biomass have been decreasing over time, according to CeDePesca Mexico Director Minerva Alonso. CeDePesca is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 with the goal of aiding Latin American fisheries achieve greater sustainability, said.

“That is why we suggested a long time ago to evolve from the current management measures to a more comprehensive management scheme, including the implementation of a [total allowable catch] per fleet and a quota system," Alonso said. "We are glad that this proposal has increasingly gotten support from fishers, processors, and officials."

According to the Mexico Yucatan red and black grouper fishery improvement program (FIP), the two grouper species form part of the main targets for the mixed demersal fishery in the Bank of Campeche, located to the north of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico. Currently, the red grouper stock is below its limit reference point “and there is much to do to improve management strategies to effectively regulate fishing effort and catch levels so that the species may recover.”

As such, the FIP’s goal is to achieve a certifiable status against the Marine Stewardship Council standard, and coordinating with both government and private stakeholders the development and implementation of a recovery strategy that includes effective data collection, monitoring, and control. The FIP also aims to enact an adequate research plan to close information gaps on the fishery and with other parts of the ecosystem.

Photo courtesy of Love Lego/Shutterstock

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