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 US 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). A primary role of the SR participants will be to motivate their vendors in Mexico to join a domestic multi-stakeholder group called 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 of 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 and grouper), and progress toward sustainability will be monitored by the Mexican Seafood SR. In some cases, the roundtable may even act to support or 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. The 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:
Artisan Catch (formerly Orca Seafoods)
Alfa Gamma Group
Amende & Schultz/Promarmex
Beaver Street Fisheries
Catalina Offshore Products
Del Pacifico Seafoods
Delta Blue Aquaculture
Eastern Fish Company
Great Fish Company/ASC Seafood
Quirch Foods Co.
Santa Monica Seafood
- 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 toward sustainability and support or catalyze fishery improvements where needed.
Action Recommendations for SR Participants:
- Encourage your supply chain to become involved in in-country efforts to reform Mexico’s national fisheries policy, such as Impacto Colectivo por la Pesca Mexicana, and advocate for policy improvements.
- Ensure existing shrimp, crab, and grouper FIPs are making progress and consider expansion to a national FIP approach where necessary.
- Support development of Gulf of Mexico and Pacific snapper and grouper FIPs by assisting with supply chain analysis, contributing funds, and/or encouraging vendors in Mexico to become involved in FIPs.
- Support vaquita conservation efforts by donating to VaquitaCPR to fund removal of illegal gillnets in the Upper Gulf of California.
- Sign a public letter of support for alternative gear development, targeting government and producers, and pledging to develop a market for vaquita-safe shrimp when such a product becomes available.
A summary of SR progress and activities can be found here.
Mexican Seafood SR Update - May to July 2019
This briefing provides an update on progress, activities and news in the areas of interest to to the SR. It also indicates any actions and further support needed. A full summary of past progress, incl. details from past quarterly updates, can be found here.
1. Improvement efforts in Target 75 priority fisheries
Gulf of Mexico octopus:
Update: The Yucatan Octopus FIP public report has been submitted to FisheryProgress.org and is currently undergoing review. The Global Octopus SR has approved financial support for a stakeholder meeting to be held in September in Merida, Yucatan, during the Latin American Summit for Fisheries and Aquaculture Sustainability (more info in Section 3 below). The goal of the Octopus FIP stakeholder meeting is to expand national industry participation as well as to reinforce engagement efforts with management authorities.
Further support needed: Contact SFP if you are interested in involving your supply chain in this FIP.
Gulf of Mexico snapper:
Update: SFP is working with US importers to develop a plan for catalyzing a Mexican snapper FIP in the Gulf of Mexico. SFP will host a conference call on July 31 at 1:30 pm (EDT) to review a proposal with SR participants.
Further support needed: Consider your level of interest in supporting Mexican snapper improvement work; join the July 31 meeting at https://zoom.us/j/826995701.
Pacific snapper and grouper:
Update: Ecologists Without Borders, a US-based NGO that works internationally, presented their Santa Rosalia Sustainable Fisheries Project to the Mexican Seafood SR during the meeting in Miami in February. The project is currently focused on community engagement and evaluation of the fishery, which is located in the western Gulf of California from Santa Rosalia south to Loreto (the northern portion of Baja California Sur), with a long-term goal of launching a comprehensive FIP. The fishery is conducted with handline and gillnet, and frequently caught species include yellowtail (Seriola lalandi), snapper (yellow snapper/Lutjanus argentiventris, Jordan’s snapper/Lutjanus jordani, spotted rose snapper/Lutjanus guttatus), and grouper (leopard grouper/Mycteroperca rosacea, gold spotted sand bass/Paralabrax auroguttatus, rooster hind/Hyporthodus acanthistius). Ecologists Without Borders asked the SR for help in identifying the final market destination of the products, as well as for financial support for the project.
Additionally, Niparajá, Pronatura Noroeste, and SmartFish (all Mexican NGOs) have posted a prospective FIP to FisheryProgress.org for a Mexico Gulf of California grouper, snapper, triggerfish, and yellowtail FIP. This FIP would include species like leopard grouper (Mycteroperca rosacea) and red snapper (Lutjanus peru) and will focus on the western Gulf of California, from Son Cosme to Punta Coyote in Baja California Sur (the middle portion of the state).
Further support needed: Contact SFP if you are sourcing snapper, grouper, triggerfish, or yellowtail from the Gulf of California and would like to be connected with one of these FIPs.
Pacific swimming crab
Update: Artisan Catch (formerly Orca Seafoods) continues to work with CeDePesca to develop a new swimming crab FIP in Sonora and Sinaloa.
Further support needed: Artisan Catch and CeDePesca welcome inquiries from interested parties. Contact information may be found on the Fishery Progress public report (link above). Once this FIP is launched, and including the new CEDO FIP in the Puerto Peñasco and Puerto Lobos area (see below), there will be five swimming crab FIPs on the Pacific coast of Mexico. SFP strongly encourages these FIPs to work together on common objectives for Pacific swimming crab fishery improvements.2. Support to established FIPs and improvement efforts
Please find an in-depth description of all sustainable or improving Mexican fisheries under T75 priority sectors, their improvement efforts, and their current progress rating here. The table below contains a brief overview of the FIPs of primary interest to this SR, their FIP progress ratings as shown on www.FishSource.org, and recently reported activity or results.
2. Support to established FIPs and improvement efforts
FIP Progress Rating
Most Recent Activity/Results
Alimentos del Mar de Norte America/ Ocean Technology
The FIP is conducting field work to collect information on the fishery catch composition and to document habitat impacts generated by the fishing practices. Information gathering will continue until July 2019, and a report will be published in October 2019.
Alimentos del Mar de Norte America/ Ocean Technology
In April 2018, a "crabmeter" was produced and distributed among the 2,500 producers supplying the FIP participants, in order to help them verify minimum legal sizes of their landings.
Alimentos del Mar de Norte America/ Ocean Technology
FIP participants have reviewed the 2012 management plan proposal and will promote its update and formalization among fisheries authorities and stakeholders.
Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO)
Not yet rated
Workplan published in March 2019.
The FIP has held meetings with independent researchers to discuss stock assessment. FIP participants and researchers agreed to design a call for proposals to conduct the fishery stock assessment protocol, as well as the fishery data and independent data collection process.
As of March 2019, all the producing companies supplying the FIP participants (around 600 vessels) have signed the Control Document letter of warranty, while collection of signatures on the Control Documents for processing plants is underway, along with development of the audit process.
Del Pacifico/MHMR International
In January 2019, a workshop took place to discuss the refinement of the stock assessment of the bays of Altata and Santa Maria. A stock assessment was conducted in February 2019 and used to mandate closure of the 2018-2019 season.
Eastern Fish/Meridian/Ocean Garden
In February 2019, field work was conducted on the Chinchorro de linea driftnet to collect information on the interaction with endangered species (results published on FIP public report). Additionally, a system to verify legality of fishers is in development – a procurement policy has been defined and agreed with FIP participants and small-scale shrimp product flow and critical points have been identified.
In July 2019, the FIP reported increases in expected scores for four MSC performance indicators. PI 2.1.1, 2.1.2, and 2.1.3 are now expected to score above 80, due to changes to the MSC Fisheries Standard with respect to evaluating non-target species. PI 3.2.2 is expected to now score over 80, due to improvements in the decision-making process. In December 2018, the Yucatan Secretary of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (SEPASY) was created. Through an agreement with the federal government, SEPASY is empowered to address issues such as illegal fishing. The Yucatan State Council of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture was re-opened on April 4, 2019. Recently the "Network of Researchers of Grouper" was formalized and is working collaboratively with authorities and stakeholders, including the “Committee for the Sustainable Management of the Grouper Fishery.” The Mexican grouper FIP is working with all of these entities to advance the goals of the FIP.
Pronatura Noroeste and FEDECOOP
A workplan published in November 2018. Even before the workplan was published, the FIP conducted a preliminary assessment to evaluate the catch of secondary species, work with fishermen to identify tools to control fishing pressure, identify data collection protocols, review selectivity of traps, and create a database of the information needed to develop a harvest strategy.
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, including the stock assessment, in order to explore improvement possibilities. INAPESCA shared the requested information in May 2018. Two fishing monitoring workshops were completed in two historically important locations for the squid resource, in May and August 2018. In July 2018, the FIP initiated an Ecopath analysis to determine the effect of the squid fishery on the Gulf of California ecosystem. Results are expected by the end of 2019.
3. Information on T75 fisheries or overarching sustainability issues
- Since bringing onboard our Mexico Fisheries Policy Consultant (Oscar Velez) in April, SFP has increased participation and involvement within Impacto Colectivo por la Pesca Mexicana (including participation in the June general assembly and committee meetings), as well as a wider distribution of a draft of our stock assessment policy brief to this entire group. We gave a formal presentation of our stock assessment policy brief at the ICPMX Governance group meeting in early June, which revealed a shared interest among committee members to work on this topic cooperatively. It was recognized that this subject is related to the official ICPMX Pronouncement and shall be considered as one of the main priorities for the upcoming year (among others, such as illegal fishing). As a result, a subcommittee within the Governance Group was created to deal with this issue and will be working on developing "innovative collaborative models for strengthening fisheries research" (which is generally understood to be in parallel and overlapping with improving stock assessments).
- A Latin American Summit for Fisheries and Aquaculture Sustainability will be held in Merida (Yucatan) on September 5 and 6. The event is being organized by COMEPESCA, #PescaConFuturo, and Impacto Colectivo por la Pesca Mexicana, in order to promote and accelerate the development of Latin American fisheries and aquaculture sustainability, through the exchange of successful experiences of participating countries and organizations with ongoing programs and projects, and initiatives among the private, social, and public regulatory bodies, value chain actors, and consumers. Topics will include sustainability, eco-certifications, impacts of investments, markets as allies, case studies, traceability, and labelling. The event will be held at NH Collection Merida Paseo Montejo Hotel, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, and registration is $150. Simultaneous translation to English will be available. Visit www.sustenpescaacua.com for more information or to register.
- FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy, is currently working to gather feedback about the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP). The goals of the project are to: identify where there may be challenges in collecting or inputting required data, identify what’s working well, and recommend ways to ultimately make the program more effective at combatting IUU fishing and seafood fraud. FishWise is not contracted or affiliated with NOAA, and the data gathered will be aggregated prior to sharing with NOAA and other relevant stakeholders. No information will be attributed to any specific organization or person without consent (NDAs are available upon request). To participate in the 20 minute survey, please click here.
- The government of Mexico is displaying increased interest in combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. In mid-June, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER), in coordination with the National Aquaculture and Fisheries Commission (CONAPESCA) and the National Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (INAPESCA), announced their intention to develop a proposal to update the General Law on Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture to adapt it to new challenges in the sector in the coming years. They have also proposed an amendment to the Federal Criminal Code to toughen penalties for those who engage in illegal fishing acts. When complete, SADER will make the proposals available to the Executive Power to be brought before the Legislative Power, for approval and subsequent entry into force. Read the full article here. Many FIPs in Mexico are dealing with IUU fishing challenges; participants in these FIPs should lend their support to government agencies who are pushing these measures, and communicate their support to pertinent legislative representatives.
- The fight against IUU fishing is heating up at a local level as well. In early July, fishers met with the Yucatan State Council of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (recently re-opened) and shared information on how illegal fishing is negatively impacting their lives and business; they also requested the intervention and support of the federal authorities to combat this serious situation. Read the full article here.
Further support needed:
- SFP is finalizing our stock assessment policy brief. The policy brief will be sent to Supply Chain Roundtable members in August with actionable advice on how to support policy reform in Mexico.
- Please consider attending the Latin American Summit for Fisheries and Aquaculture Sustainability in September, and ask your vendors in Mexico to attend as well.
4. Expansion of the SR
The Mexican Seafood SR is currently open to expansion to any US-based importer of Mexican Seafood. Current work is focused on Pacific shrimp, Gulf of Mexico and Pacific crab, and Gulf of Mexico and Pacific snapper and grouper. Pacific squid and Gulf of Mexico octopus are also of interest to SFP, but are addressed in more detail by the Global Squid SR and Global Octopus SR, respectively.
Update: Artisan Catch and BlackIndigo Foods joined the SR in May.
Further support needed: Promote the SR to fellow industry and invite participation, and share your supply chain knowledge with SFP. Please contact Megan Westmeyer.