Ocean whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps) is an important fishery for the communities in the northwest of México. The ocean whitefish fishery catches have remained stable in the last five years in the west coast in the Baja California Peninsula, but there are not any management tools other than permits for access to the fishery. The permits are general for scalefish, so there not any specification about how ocean whitefish should be fished.
Fishermen from El Rosario, Baja California were interested in developing a sustainable fishery - they have have been committed to sustainable fisheries since 1940 and have worked on marine reserves with Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A. C. (COBI) for six years. Thus, they approached COBI again to help them to reach fisheries international standards.
The first step towards sustainability was to complete a preliminary assessment to fishery against the Marine Stewardship Council standard in April 2017. The main gaps identified by the preliminary assessment were the lack of a formal stock assessment for the fishery status and lack of a bycatch management strategy. The habitat status was identified as a minor concern, however, the trap impact on the bottom needs to be evaluated. Further efforts need to be made in order to promote the fishery in sustainable markets.
Future assessments will help to know new gaps in the performance of the fishery. Meanwhile, fishermen from El Rosario are aware about the high pressure on ocean whitefish in the southern area of the Baja California peninsula in the last years and they are interested in developing a sustainable fishery to set an example in the region.
Ocean whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps) is an important fishery for the communities in the northwest of México.
By 2022, this project seeks to meet the following objectives:
- Promote the fishery and develop a sustainable fishery as an example to replicate in the region
- Generate basic fishery monitoring
- Investigation of possible impacts on other fisheries
- Access to markets interested in sustainability
- Design a decision making processes in the fishery and a management program
- Improvement of the compliance of legality of the fishery performance
FIP at a Glance