Mexico Isla Natividad ocean whitefish - trap/handline

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Overview

Mexico is the primary global producer of ocean whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps) with 94% of national landings coming from the state of Baja California Sur. Nevertheless, there are no species-specific management measures in place for this fishery. The only management tool in place is fishing permits for finfish that specify the number of boats and gear that can be used per permit holder.

The fishing cooperative Buzos y Pescadores de la Baja California S.C.L. located on Isla Natividad, Baja California Sur have demonstrated their commitment to sustainability through the establishment of marine reserves in collaboration with Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A. C. (COBI), MSC certification of their lobster fishery, Seafood Watch green rating of their yellowtail fishery, and a restoration program for abalone in collaboration with the state government and academia. In recent years, they have shown an increased interest in developing more sustainable finfish fisheries, such as ocean whitefish.

A relatively new fishery, the directed catch of ocean whitefish started in 2011 as an economic alternative to high-value benthic fisheries that have been declining in recent years. The cooperatives initial production of 3.7 T in 2011 increased to 13.4 T in 2016 and is expected to increase further as demand grows. As a result, the cooperative approached SmartFish in 2017, expressing their interest in conducting a fisheries improvement project. The FIP is exclusive to boats belonging to the cooperative Buzos y Pescadores that fish with handlines and traps.  

In the winter of 2017 Pronatura Noreste conducted a Marine Stewardship Council pre-assessment of the Isla Natividad ocean whitefish fishery. The main concerns identified by the preliminary assessment were the lack of a formal stock assessment and bycatch management strategy. The status of habitats and ecosystem impacts were identified as minor concerns; however, the potential impact of fishing gear needs to be evaluated.

In addition, SmartFish A.C. is working to improve access to markets that value sustainability and implement digital traceability.

FIP Description 

Mexico is the primary global producer of ocean whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps) with 94% of national landings coming from the state of Baja California Sur.

FIP Objective(s) 
  • Generate basic fishery information and implement a monitoring program by 2019
  • Investigate possible ecosystem impacts and interactions with other fisheries by 2019
  • Develop and implement species-specific management for ocean whitefish by 2021
  • Design a decision-making process in the fishery by 2019
  • Increase the supply of sustainable seafood that the cooperative can offer to markets interested in sustainability by 2021
  • Promote sustainable finfish fisheries in Mexico by 2021
FIP Type 
Basic
FIP Stage 
Stage 4: Improvements in Fishing Practices or Fishery Management
Start and Projected End Dates
June 2018
June 2021
Next Progress Report Due 
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Species 
Common Name 
Ocean Whitefish
Scientific Name 
Caulolatilus princeps
Additional Names 
ocean whitefish, blanco, blanquillo, pierna
Gear Type 
Handline
Pot/Trap
Location
FAO Major Fishing Area
Area 77 (Pacific, Eastern Central)
Exclusive Economic Zones
Country 
Mexico
Geographic Scope 
Isla Natividad, Baja California Sur
Regional Fisheries Management Organization
Landings
Estimated Total FIP Landings 
15 metric tons
Estimated Total Fishery Landings 
15 metric tons
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FIP at a Glance

25% 14% 61%
June 01, 2018
25% 14% 61%
Progress Rating

A - Advanced Progress
Reserved for comprehensive FIPs that have a Stage 4 or 5 result within the past 12 months.

B - Good Progress
A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 in more than 12 months AND Stage 3 activity in the last year; OR a basic FIP that has achieved Stage 4 or 5 achievements within the past 12 months.

C - Some Recent Progress
A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 12 (but less than 24) months but has not generated a Stage 3 result within the past 12 months OR a FIP younger than a year that has never achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result but has completed a Stage 3 activity.

D - Some Past Progress
A FIP for which the most recent publicly reported Stage 4 or 5 result is more than 24 (but less than 30) months.

E - Negligible Progress
A FIP older than a year that has not reported a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 30 month (but less than 36) months; OR a FIP younger than 1 year that has not reported a Stage 3 activity.

The ratings are currently derived by SFP from publicly available data on FIP websites, including FisheryProgress.org, and are determined using the following methodology: View PDF
B Good Progress
Actions Complete
  • Complete
  • Incomplete
Next Update Due FisheryProgress requires a FIP to provide update reports every six months, and two missed reports will render the FIP inactive. If a report is overdue, this date will appear red.
Jul 2020
Target End Date
Jun 2021

FIP Leads

Organization Name 
Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A. C. (COBI)
Organization Type 
NGO
Primary Contact 
Francisco Fernández
Organization Name 
Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A. C. (COBI)
Organization Type 
NGO
Primary Contact 
Lorena Rocha
Enter the public contact information for up to two leaders of the FIP. This information will be displayed on FisheryProgress.org for users who want to contact the FIP.