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Friday, December 17, 2010

FISHING - Killing of the reef fish in the Sea of Cortez

Happy Holidays and thanks for your support in 2010

2010 was a year devoted to the vigilance program Sea Watch helped start and fund in 2009. It is called Observatorio Ciudadano (OC, Citizen Observers). In its first year of operation it has been successful beyond what many imagined and you can see more fish on every reef around the Bay of La Paz.

For 12 years, hookah divers have been killing the reef fish in the Sea of Cortez. By 2007 there were few fish left. In 2007 Sea Watch attorneys sponsored a federal regulation “prohibiting hookah use for fish extraction in all Mexican waters.” It was enacted in May of 2009. Now, no compressed air (hookah or tanks) can be used to extract any fin fish in any Mexican waters. Watch Video of the destruction.

2010 was a year Sea Watch devoted to involvement with the vigilance program that it helped start and fund in 2009. It is called Observatorio Ciudadano (OC, Citizen Observers). In its first year of operation it has been successful beyond what many imagined and you can see more fish on every reef around the Bay of La Paz.
Read more…

In the last year, in the La Paz area where OC patrols work, conservative estimates put the decrease in illegal activity at 80% .
That translates into the minimum tonnage of reef fish saved from being illegally shot at night (pistoleros) or netted using hookah during the day (encerradores) at 500 plus tons. See some of the latest short videos showing the dramatic return of fish. Fish returning to Islotes, Fish returning to San Diego Island

OC patrols, advanced communication and reporting techniques, follow up, and publicity has been a catalyst for new governmental and civil society involvement. OC’s operational success is now a model for addressing similar problems in other areas of Mexico.

OC has triggered a unique government-society collaboration effort that had never taken place before, by doing the work for the authorities it has initiated a new and different relationship in which the authorities feel more obligated to participate.

The OC program, with former pistoleros running the patrol boat has facilitated a relationship with illegal fisherman that has enabled Plataforma to understand motives and offer economic alternatives, a major part of the programs success.

Read the executive summary of the
(Prepared for SeaWatch)