The Yucatán Peninsula, which separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea, boasts a variety of rich and productive ecosystems, including coastal lagoons, mangrove forests, and pristine coral reefs. The region supports countless birds, four species of sea turtles, 34 coral species, 24 shark and ray species including whale sharks and hammerheads, 136 fish species, and marine mammals, including the critically endangered Northern Right Whale and endangered blue whale.
Protecting the Yucatan Peninsula’s Sustainable Fisheries, a Mexican Treasure
12,000 artisanal fishers and their families live in coastal communities in the Yucatan Peninsula and depend on the health of commercially important species including lobster, grouper, snapper and octopus. Yet nearly 50% of fishing vessels in the area operate illegally.
In November 2020, Impact Blue and WildAid Marine partnered to support fishing federations in the Yucatan peninsula to transition towards sustainability and ensure effective management and strong enforcement of the spiny lobster and octopus fisheries. We are currently working with three fishing federations.
When WildAid first partnered with the fishing federations of the Yucatan, nearly half of all fishing in the area was done illegally and enforcement by government agencies was virtually nonexistent. Thus, commercial stocks and critical habitat have suffered from extensive poaching, leading to smaller catch sizes and thus less income for legal fishers.
Putting Our Model Into Action
WildAid completed three Marine Protection System plans between 2020-2022 and is currently in the Implementation stage at three sites in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
We provided equipment, fuel and operational supplies to guarantee presence in areas with the highest incidence of illegal fishing.
We conducted annual trainings for federation members and mentored them in developing patrolling strategies.
We helped the Fishing Federation prioritize investments and develop a patrol strategy to maximize their patrol time.
We support the Fishing Federation, a group of fishers in the Yucatan aiming to establish sustainable fishing. The Fishing Federation actively participates in enforcement of critical lobster and octopus fisheries to support conservation of the area.
We helped establish joint patrols between the Fishing Federation volunteers and Mexican government enforcement agencies to catch and deter illegal fishing.
sustainable fishing areas that we help protect in Mexico’s Yucatan
increase in lobster catch in 2022
hours patrolling between the three Fishing Federations in 2022, resulting in 17 vessel seizures in one year.