As part of the Vaquita Marina Conservation strategy, fishermen form the upper Gulf of California are working with specialists from INAPESCA to test fishing gear that does not pose a threat to the endangered cetacean. So far this year, testing has been done with gear targeting finfish, and once again fishermen from Golfo de Santa Clara have invited us to collaborate with them in this important endeavor.
Back in 2013 fishermen and INAPESCA tested a small trawl designed by the government, the RSINP, and a trawling net which was modified by fishermen. The RSINP will be tested again this year with the participation of 30 boats. Testing activities are scheduled taking into consideration gear characteristics and oceanographic conditions. Just like in the finfish gear testing trials, each boat will have a community observer and an INAPESCA technician. Boats will operate on days considered optimal for shrimp fishing. On days when currents are not strong testing will shift back to finfish.
Our Citizen Science Program will support fishermen and government during gear testing and fishermen will be gathering 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 trawling gear. Citizen Science methodologies help bring transparency to research programs, which in turns generates trust among those participating and those who are being affected by the proposed fishing gear changes and the two-year fishing ban.
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.