Over the past decade, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) has been deeply involved in several fishery improvement projects in Mexico, some of which involve fisheries that intend to pursue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. These fisheries, and a few others that have already been certified, have implemented voluntary measures to meet certification standards (e.g., improved landings data collection, compliance monitoring). This work has revealed a need for general policy improvement at the national level, to ensure these improvements are permanent and also implemented in non-certified fisheries. Consequently, technical experts are working to identify a set of common policy recommendations that need to be addressed to improve management and fisheries data collection in all Mexican fisheries. While promoting improvements in policy will be most effectively undertaken on the ground in Mexico, support from the U.S. supply chain will be an important component in gaining the participation of the Mexican seafood industry, as well as providing support for the common policy recommendations.
As such, SFP has formed a Mexican Seafood Supply Chain Roundtable (SR). The primary role of the SR participants will be to motivate their vendors in Mexico to join a domestic multi-stakeholder group called the Impacto Colectivo por la Pesca Mexicana, which is pressing the government to implement policy reforms. Additional support for the common policy recommendations may be needed to demonstrate to the government the supply chain's desire for the changes, and this will be undertaken by Mexican companies.
In addition, a number of Mexican fisheries are critical to the success of the Target 75 Initiative, including Gulf of California shrimp; Gulf of California, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico swimming crab; Pacific and Gulf of Mexico snapper and grouper; Pacific and Gulf of California small pelagics; Pacific purse seine tuna; Gulf of Mexico octopus; and Gulf California squid. While some of these fisheries are covered by species specific Supply Chain Roundtables (octopus, small pelagics, squid, and tuna) others are not (shrimp, crab, and snapper/grouper), and progress towards sustainability will be monitored by the Mexican Seafood Supply Chain Roundtable. In some cases, the roundtable may even act to catalyze new FIPs in these fisheries. See the T75 tab for more information.
Unlike most other SRs the Mexican Seafood SR is not working within one seafood sector only. Focus of the Mexican Seafood SR is general policy improvement at the national level, to ensure these improvements are permanent and also implemented in non-certified fisheries. Consequently, the SR contributes to Target 75 in several sectors, namely wild caught Large Shrimp, Snapper & Grouper and Swimming Crab, which are of particular interest to the US market. In Squid and Octopus any FIP Support and FIP catalyzation efforts are directed by the applicable sector focused SRs.
Please find an overview of all T75 relevant fisheries SR here.
The SR welcomes additional participation of market-based buyers of Mexican Seafood.
Current Supply Chain Roundtable Participants include:
Alfa Gamma Group
Amende & Schultz/Promarmex
Beaver Street Fisheries
Catalina Offshore Products
Del Pacifico Seafoods
Delta Blue Aquaculture
Eastern Fish Company
The Fishin' Co.
Fortune Fish & Gourmet
Great Fish Company/ASC Seafood
New England Marine Atlanta
Quirch Foods Co.
Santa Monica Seafood
Tampa Bay Fisheries
- Ensure diverse and robust participation of the seafood supply chain in the Impacto Colectivo por la Pesca Mexicana, which is working to promote fisheries policy change in Mexico.
- Monitor progress of T75 fisheries towards sustainability.
Action Recommendations for SR Participants:
- Ask your vendors in Mexico to join the Impacto Colectivo por la Pesca Mexicana and advocate for the common policy recommendations.
- Ensure existing shrimp, crab, and grouper FIPs are making progress.
- Catalyze or support new FIPs in the Gulf of Mexico snapper and Pacific snapper and grouper fisheries.
A summary of SR progress and activities can be found here.
Mexican Seafood SR Update - November 2018
This briefing provides an update on progress, activities and news in the areas of interest to the SR. It also indicates any actions and further support needed.
1. Improvement efforts in Target 75 priority fisheries
Gulf of Mexico octopus:
Update: Efforts are underway by participants of the Global Octopus SR to launch a FIP for Yucatan octopus in early 2019. An MSC pre-assessment has been completed and a FIP workplan is in development.
Further Support needed: Interested parties can contact SFP’s Pedro Ferreiro.
Gulf of Mexico snapper:
Update: SFP has obtained funding to help industry launch a Gulf of Mexico snapper FIP. We are conducting supply chain mapping and will soon develop a basic FIP workplan focusing on data collection, stock assessment, and fundamental fishery management.
Further Support needed: SFP staff will be reaching out to SR participants we believe source snapper from the Gulf of Mexico. Additional SR participants who do not hear from us may also contact Megan Westmeyer.
Pacific snapper and grouper:
Update: Pronatura and FEDECOOP launched a FIP for barred sand bass in the central Baja California peninsula in early 2018 by: . In addition, Ecologists Without Borders is currently scoping a multi-species FIP, including yellowtail, snapper, and grouper small-boat fisheries operating in the Santa Rosalía region of the Gulf of California (northern Baja California Sur). Little is currently known about the market destination of products harvested in this fishery.
Further Support needed: SFP staff will be reaching out to SR participants we believe may source snapper and grouper from the Pacific. Additional SR participants who do not hear from us may also contact Megan Westmeyer.
Pacific swimming crab:
Update: The leaders of the long existing Gulf of California swimming crab FIP (Ocean Technology and Alimentos del Mar de Norte America) have launched a new swimming crab FIP for the West Coast of Baja California Sur. In addition, Orca Seafoods is working with CeDePesca to develop a new swimming crab FIP in Sonora and Sinaloa.
Further Support needed: Orca Seafoods and CeDePesca welcome inquiries from interested parties. Contact information may be found on the Fishery Progress public report (link above).
2. Support to established FIPs and improvement efforts
There have been an exciting number of new FIPs launched in Mexico over the past year. The following table contains a list of all FIPs under T75 priority sectors, their FIP progress ratings as shown on www.FishSource.org, and recently reported activity or results. Other FIPs and FIPs in development, but not covered by T75 sectors, are listed below the table.
FIP Progress Rating
Alimentos del Mar de Norte America /Ocean Technology
FIP workplan published in January 2018
Alimentos del Mar de Norte America/Ocean Technology
In April 2018 a "crabmeter" was produced and distributed among the 2500 producers supplying the FIP participants in order to help them to verify minimum legal sizes of the landings
In July 2017 the FIP reported that bycatch data analysis was completed, and concluded that the shrimp:bycatch ratio is 1:1. Eight species have high abundance in the bycatch, though none are reported as “at risk” by the IUCN. Also in 2017, the FIP requested publication of stock assessments and launched an awareness campaign on the regulatory framework.
Comité Nacional Sistema Producto Calamar Gigante
In February 2018 the FIP participants sent a letter to INAPESCA to request relevant information on the sustainability schemes in order to explore improvement possibilities.
In March 2018 FIP participants met with fisheries authorities during the Seafood Expo North America and started a conversation regarding the need for robust, updated and transparent stocks assessments.
Del Pacifico/MHMR International
In June 2018, the FIP reported on the maintenance of the VMS coverage and plans to expand coverage to ensure traceability of shrimp caught by the fishing community.
Ponchartrain Blue Crab
This FIP has missed two consecutive required updates to their public report on FisheryProgress.org and is now considered inactive.
In January 2018 a species catalog was created to improve species identification by fishers. In addition, the database of fishery-collected harvest information continues to be updated and has been made available to researchers.
Other FIPs (not in T75 priority sectors)
Isla Natividad Ocean Whitefish – COBI and SmartFish
Mexico Marismas Nacionales white snook – Pronatura Noroeste, CONANP Reserva de la Biosfera Marismas Nacionales, SEDERMA
Mexico Puerto Libertad clams – COBI
Mexico Sonora yellowtail – COBI
Mexico penshells – COBI (FIP in development)
3. Information on T75 fisheries or overarching sustainability issues
- Suripera nets are now an approved gear for the small-scale shrimp fishery in the Alto Golfo news clip here.
- Recent evidence indicates that illegal fishing for shrimp by small-scale vessels using gillnets continues in the northern Gulf of California, and may even be increasing. SFP’s sources say that the current government appears to be relaxing efforts to eradicate illegal fishing, and the new/incoming administration has made statements that indicate their willingness to relax or eliminate conservation measures designed to save the vaquita porpoise (e.g. permit the use of gillnets). The certificate of admissibility designed by the US government (NOAA), as the measure to implement the court mandated import prohibition on gillnet net caught seafood from Upper Gulf of California, is relatively weak and will likely fail to prevent gillnet harvested product from entering the US supply chain. We believe it is likely to be disguised as product from the industrial shrimp fishery. SFP is currently evaluating potential activities to be undertaken by the supply chain to ensure the legality of imports, but we currently recommend that US importers do not source ANY shrimp from processing plants in San Felipe or Santa Clara – the chance of illegally harvested shrimp being co-mingled with legally harvested shrimp is high.
- In late October, a Mexican Navy helicopter crashed in the marine protected area of the northern Gulf of California while engaged in an anti-poaching patrol. News clip here. Eleven of the twelve crew were rescued by pangas fishing in the area (which is closed to fishing). The video taken of the crash and rescue by panga fishermen (widely posted to the internet) shows that the fishermen were using gillnets that are traditionally used to harvest shrimp.
- SFP’s sources in Mexico have also provided us with the following picture that was posted to Facebook in late October, by a fisherman from Santa Clara. It serves as an example of how comfortable the fishermen are that the government will not go to great lengths to enforce the gillnet prohibition.
- The Carta Nacional Pesquera (CNP), containing information on the stock status of many fisheries, was published in June after 6 year hiatus. By law, the CNP is supposed be published every year. Part of the national policy reform work proposed by SFP and other organizations (e.g. Impacto Colectivo por la Pesca Mexicana – see below) is to publish the CNP on an annual basis to ensure up to date information on fisheries is publicly available.
- The focus of SFP’s work with this SR over the past year has revolved around fostering industry involvement in the Impacto Colectivo por la Pesca Mexicana (ICPMX). Unfortunately, industry participation remains extremely low. Out of 30 Mexican Seafood SR participants, two joined ICPMX themselves, and a further four connected their vendors to ICPMX support personnel. SFP will continue to try to foster industry participation in ICPMX in 2019 but will develop a new outreach strategy based on feedback from the Supply Chain Roundtable.
Expansion of the SR
Update: SFP’s work in Mexico will continue in 2019 with funding from the Packard Foundation and Walton Family Foundation. The focus will be on:
- Maintaining supply chain support for existing FIPs
- Combatting illegal shrimp fishing in the northern Gulf of California
- Catalyzing a snapper FIP in the Gulf of Mexico
- Evaluating the potential for snapper and grouper FIPs on the Pacific coast
- Pushing for national fisheries policy change
More information will be provided at the SR meeting in Miami in February (during the Fisheries Forum) without follow up work conducted in small working groups in Boston in March (during Seafood Expo North America).
Further Support needed: Promote the SR to fellow industry and invite participation and share your supply chain knowledge with SFP. Please contact Megan Westmeyer.