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Volume 45 - Number 1 - 2010


Artisanal fisheries in the conservation zones of the Upper Gulf of California

Gerardo Rodríguez-Quiroz1, E. Alberto Aragón-Noriega2, Wenceslao Valenzuela-Quiñónez1 and Héctor M. Esparza-Leal1


1Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional, Unidad Sinaloa. Blvd. Juan de Dios Bátiz Paredes 250, Guasave, Sinaloa 81101, México

2Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste, Unidad Sonora. Km 2.35 Camino al Tular, Estero de Bacochibampo, Guaymas, Sonora 85454, México




Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly being used as management tools to protect ecosystems around the world, but there is some debate as to whether marine protected areas should be used as a tool to protect and increase biodiversity, as a fisheries management tool or as a tool that serves both purposes. Scientific studies help to demonstrate the effects of these areas on adjacent fishing grounds. The Upper Gulf of California (UGC) is one of the most important fishing regions exploited by artisanal fishermen. There are three neighboring communities in the area: San Felipe in Baja California and Golfo de Santa Clara and Puerto Peñasco in Sonora. These areas are adjacent to two MPAs. We assessed whether the MPAs in the area have promoted the welfare of the fisherman, and we tried to identify the important grounds for artisanal fishing in an effort to improve the designation of MPAs. Capture increased as fishermen incorporated more boats into their fleets, but the total capture per unit, which is about 10 ton boat-1 year-1, decreased. A Geographical Information System survey indicated that 62% of all artisanal fishing was occurring within the MPAs of the UGC. This fishing generated gross profits of approximately US$ 5,897 million per year, with return rates of 68%. Even with an increased fishing effort, gross profit margins have been sustained. The fishermen's exploitation of the MPAs needs to undergo a complex interdisciplinary evaluation because of the presence of endangered species in the region. Appropriate management practices are needed to enhance marine conservation efforts without compromising the interests of local fishermen


Key words: Marine protected areas, sustainable fishery, gross profit, fishermen, conservation



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