INACTIVE Mexico Gulf of California swimming crab - pot/trap/ring net

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Reason for Inactivity 
Missed two consecutive reports

Note: This FIP went inactive on April 30, 2020.

The Gulf of California swimming crab FIP started in 2009 under the coordination of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP). The FIP coordination and leadership was transferred to the industry in January 2015. All of the activities, improvements, and achievements during that period were reported on SFP’s website and a summary can be downloaded here.

Mexico is the main Latin American country exporting swimming crab products to international markets. Between 2006 and 2013, Mexico exported an annual average of 2.6 thousand metric tons of swimming crab products, with an average value of 22.1 million dollars. During that same period of time, Mexico exported an annual average of 1.1 thousand tons of crabmeat with an average value of 19 million dollars to the US market.

Mexico has an annual average production of 23 thousand metric tons with a beach value of US 17 million dollars and during the past ten years, the fishery has presented an annual growth rate of 3.8%. This ranks the fishery tenth on landings and twelfth on economic value.

The Pacific coast of Mexico produces 63% of the national landings - of that percentage the Gulf of California landings makeup 60%. Sinoloa and Sonora states stand out as the main producers in the country

The swimming crab fishery in the Gulf of California is of great importance to small-scale fishers in the months before and after the shrimp fishery’s peak (September to November). An estimated total of 2,193 small-scale fishing boats, including 4,400 fishers and 139 fishing permits, are active in the Gulf of California.

The fishery is regulated by the Mexican Official Standard NOM-039-PESC-2003, which includes minimum legal size requirements and restrictions on fishing gear (type and number/vessel), egg bearing females, and type of bait. The Standard also controls the total amount of fishing gear in the main production states (70,800 in Sinaloa, 43,600 in Sonora, and 8,000 in Baja California Sur). For the rest of the states (Baja California, Nayarit, and Jalisco) the restriction on fishing gear depends on the technical opinion of the National Fisheries Institute (INAPESCA).

Since 2013, there has also been a Fishery Closure which runs from May 1 to July 10 every year to protect reproduction and recruitment. Finally, in 2014 the fisheries authority published the Fishery Management Plan. INAPESCA states the fishery is as at maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and recommends against any increase in fishing effort in Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja California Sur. There are possibilities of incremental fishing effort for the rest of the Pacific coast states.


FIP Description 

Note: This FIP went inactive on April 30, 2020.

FIP Objective(s) 

By the summer of 2020, the FIP aims to:

  • Have a system in place for the continuous assessment of the crab populations targeted by the fishery
  • Have a system in place for the continuous monitoring and assessment of the fishery environmental impacts
  • Achieve full compliance of the swimming crab supply chain with fishery regulations
FIP Type 
FIP Stage 
Stage 4: Improvements in Fishing Practices or Fishery Management
Common Name 
Brown Crab
Scientific Name 
Callinectes bellicosus
Additional Names 
Warrior swimcrab, warrior swimming crab, Cortez swimming crab, jaiba café
Common Name 
Blue Crab
Scientific Name 
Callinectes arcuatus
Additional Names 
Cuata swimcrab, Arched swimming crab, jaiba azul
Gear Type 
Ring Net
Exclusive Economic Zones
Geographic Scope 
Gulf of California on the shores and estauries Sinaloa and Sonora States

FIP Leads

Organization Name 
Ocean Technology Inc.
Organization Type 
Primary Contact 
Ed Dixon
Organization Name 
Alimentos del Mar de Norte America
Organization Type 
Primary Contact 
Tirso Alvarez
Organization Name 
Pesca Responsable y Comercio Justo
Organization Type 
Primary Contact 
Juan Manuel Garcia Caudillo
+52 6461208525
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