Fishing bans lifted in Baja California

Parimal M. Rohit

BAJA CALIFORNIA — Mexico’s National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (CONAPESCA) announced Aug. 14 a temporary ban on the capture of yellow and blue abalone was temporarily lifted.

The announcement, published in the Official Gazette, permitted anglers to fish for yellow and blue abalone from the northwestern third of Asuncion Bay to Punta Holcomb between Aug. 14 and Aug. 31. Officials re-established its temporary ban of yellow and blue abalone fishing in this region from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31.

Anglers can fish for yellow or blue abalone from Punta Holcomb to Arroyo Conejo until Sept. 30; the temporary ban for this region will begin Oct. 1 and continue through Jan. 31, 2016.

“This measure aims to maintain the sustainability of the mollusk and protect their reproductive cycle in the production areas of the peninsula,” CONAPESCA officials stated.

Anyone who violates the government bans will face sanctions, officials added.

Baja California’s entire West Coast will soon become populated with large numbers of Southern California anglers and boaters, as the Baja Ha-Ha sailing event and Bisbee’s Black and Blue tournament both scheduled during the final days of October.

Commission to fund 25 fishing projects

The National Commission on Aquaculture and Fisheries announced in August it will dedicate 94.3 million pesos to fund 25 fishing themed projects this year. Another 258 million pesos will support 50 economic units of fishing and aquaculture, the commission announced.

Fisheries and aquaculture systems on the West Coast of Baja California reportedly produce 28,000 tons of squid, shrimp, crab, snail, crab, lobster, oysters, octopus, rays, sharks, mackerel and scale, worth about 250 million pesos annually and supporting 270,000 families who depend upon fishing.

Negative Certification of loggerhead sea turtle program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a negative certification Mexico on Aug. 19, alleging the country’s regulatory program addressing bycatch of North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles was not on par with a similar program in the United States.

“Countries identified for bycatch must implement a regulatory program comparable in effectiveness to relevant U.S. regulatory measures to receive a positive certification,” NOAA staff stated.

Mexico reportedly adopted a new bycatch regulation for North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles in April, establishing along Baja California’s West Coast a fisheries reserve, mortality limits and gear restrictions.

NOAA staff stated Mexico’s efforts were commendable but inefficient; this is the agency’s first negative certification issued under illegal fishing or bycatch mandates for a protected living marine resource under the Moratorium Protection Act.

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