Press Release

WildAid and Impact Blue partner to design a marine protection system to enforce a sustainable spiny lobster fishery in cooperation with artisanal fishers and Mexican authourities in the state of Yucatan

November 11, 2020

The Yucatan spiny lobster project, developed in conjunction with the Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives of the Center-West of the State of Yucatán, will support fishing cooperatives to make a transition from hook and dive lobster fishing to live lobster trap fishing. This transition will: 1) increase the value of fishing, as it will help move from the sale of the tail to intermediaries towards the direct marketing of live lobster to Asian markets, 2) reduce environmental impacts as the trap is more selective; and 3) increase the safety and well-being of fishermen and their families, as decompression problems associated with diving will be avoided, while allowing older fishermen to continue to engage in lobster fishing.

Credit: Carlos Aguilera

In its role as project developer, Impact Blue, together with the fishing sector, is developing a transition plan for the spiny lobster fishery, which includes providing technical assistance and investments necessary to accelerate the transition of the fishery towards sustainability. Once the plan is conceptualized and all the costs are identified, Impact Blue will present the transition plan to a group of private investors in order to raise resources. WildAid Marine has been brought into the initiative to help develop a Marine Protection System (our model for regulatory compliance). While often overlooked, the enforcement of fisheries regulations is critical in safeguarding resources and a critical component for a high-value fishery such as the spiny lobster.

Credit: Carlos Aguilera

Over the next couple of months, WildAid will be working with Impact Blue, several fishing cooperatives and Mexican authorities to develop a low-cost compliance model that aims to strengthen the enforcement of fishery regulations and maximize the use of available resources. While the challenges are many, we are confident that we can craft a collaborative low-tech model that involves key actors who are vested in both the fishery transition plan and the health of the marine ecosystem.  The Yucatan spiny lobster project offers a win-win opportunity for fishermen, their families, the lobster fishery as well as Scorpion Reef National Park – one of the primary fishing zones of this initiative.