Mexican Shrimp Season Arrives
This week marks the second week of the Mexican shrimp season, as boats and pangas have left their ports for bay, in-shore and ocean shrimp fishing areas, according to importer Ocean Garden Products. Harvests of large shrimp at Mexico's shrimp farms are expected to take place in late September and October.
Wild shrimp season openings are staggered by area, and Mexico's Fisheries Commission, state authorities and fishermen collaborate to determine optimal season start dates. The monitored season, product traceability, efforts to protect the endangered vaquita marina porpoise and rigorous aquaculture practices underscore Ocean Garden's commitment to sustainability, says Shawn Hester, OGP's director of marketing.
The San Diego company has been closely involved with Mexican fishermen and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to promote long-term sustainability and socioeconomic balance in the Upper Gulf of California as a founding member of Alto Golfo Sustentable (AGS). The program was first established in 2005 to eradicate illegal shrimp fishing during the off-season, eliminate vaquita marina incidental catch and improve the efficiency of shrimp fishing in the Upper Gulf of California fishing communities of San Felipe, Puerto Peñasco and Santa Clara.
AGS has become an integral part of comprehensive sustainability efforts in the region. Recently, the Mexican government delivered $15 million to fishermen in the Upper Gulf of California as part of a compensation program to encourage reduced fishing and protection of the vaquita marina.
Following a lengthy review process by AGS and government authorities, 738 applications were approved for compensation for 153 fishermen to retire their nets for other businesses; 548 fishermen received compensation to not fish in the polygon (fishing area bordering the protected area); and 52 fishermen received compensation for converting to alternative fishing gear.