Back in 2013 fishermen from Golfo de Santa Clara invited our team to provide technical support them as they tested new fishing gear. On that occasion, they were about to test a small trawl designed by the government, the RSINP, and a trawling net which was modified by fishermen. We will be using our Citizen Science Program to support fishermen and government during gear testing and gather spatial data with the GPS trackers and, together with all other data gathered during the testing period, analyze data to have a better understanding of the performance of this new fishing gear. With the publication of the two-year fishing ban in the Upper Gulf of California, changes in local economies are beginning to take place, and applying a Citizen Science approach will help increase transparency in this research process and, hopefully, result in greater acceptance and trust of the results.
We were happy to be invited once again by Carlos Tirado, fisheries leader from Golfo de Santa Clara, to participate in this year’s fishing gear tests. Although gear will be tested for shrimp and finfish fisheries, on this first blog entry we will describe the fishing gears being tested for finfish. These gears will be tested and used in both, San Felipe and Golfo de Santa Clara. INAPESCA will lead the experiments, which are scheduled to begin any day now. There are three fishing gears that will be tested for finfish: two types of traps (one collapsible and one rigid), and a 54 ft trawl net known as REESCAMA-INA. We had the chance to talk to Antonio García Orozco, who helped develop and build the prototypes that will be tested, to learn a bit more about each one of the prototypes.
Collapsible fish trap: the base is made up of two aluminum squares and one steel square covered in PVC; the entire trap is covered with 1” mesh net. The traps dimensions are: 59” long, 39.5” wide and 40” tall. It has two openings allowing fish to enter and a bait container inside. Buoys are placed on the top with just enough weights on the bottom to keep it anchored in one place but without sitting on the sea floor, thus allowing fish to enter from the bottom and the top. Because it folds down (collapses), space can be saved during storage and transport on the panga.
Rigid trap: this rectangular trap is built out of steel wire covered with PVC. It has two openings for fish and a bait container, and is covered with 2” mesh net. Dimensions are: 48”long, 32” wide, and 24” tall.
REESCAMA-INA: this trawling net used to catch finfish is built out of 1/8th PVC material and a combination of 4” and 3” mesh size net. It is 54ft long and is cone shaped. Buoys are place on the top for flotation and stability and two doors or weights are places at the bottom to allow for the cone to open. This net requires to be dragged by a panga in order to work, and fishermen will require a pulley system to assist during the recovery.
Author: Josué Montañez Rivera
Josué lives in El Golfo de Santa Clara, Sonora and is part of the GCMP community team. He acts as liaison between scientists and community members, as well as coordinate the team’s local research activities. With his experience as a fisherman he has enriched the team with knowledge on how to implement research projects and interpret data. He is trained in fisheries and biological monitoring techniques and plays a key role in our Citizen Science Program.