Tomorrow begins another shrimp season with illegal nets in vaquita habitat

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Within hours of the start of the shrimp catching season in the Upper Gulf of Californiacooperatives and federations of fishermen They accused the Government of Mexico of ignoring their proposal to modify the protection polygons for the vaquita porpoise, which seeks, on the one hand, to protect and conserve the species, and on the other, to return legality to its economic activity and ensure the livelihood of the communities.

As soon as the ban is lifted in the first minute of this Saturday, September 23the riverside fishermen of Puerto Peñasco and Santa Clara, Sonora, as well as San Felipe, Baja California, will once again go out to carry out their work with gillnets, up to two kilometers in length, prohibited since September 24, 2020 , according to the regulations published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF).

For 25 days, the organized fishermen handed over to Iván Rico, undersecretary of Planning and Environmental Policy of Semarnat, an initiative to expand the so-called Zero Tolerance Zone by 25 percentfree of boats, and reduce 15 percent Vaquita Refuge Area, in order to reopen areas of vital importance for artisanal fishing with gillnets to capture shrimp, curvina, milkfish and sawfish.

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After receiving the proposal, the also alternate president of the Intragovernmental Group on Sustainability in the Upper Gulf of California (GIS), sand promised to provide a response to the cooperatives within a maximum of 15 days. and federations, which has not happened until now.

In a public position, the organized fishermen announced that from August 14 to 16 they participated in working groups with the Ministry of the Interior (Segob), to prepare a proposal to modify the Agreement that regulates fishing in the marine areas of the Northern Gulf of California.

Subsequently, on August 18, they delivered the proposal to the Advisory Council of the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere ReserveOn August 26, they did the same with the head of the National Aquaculture and Fisheries Commission (Conapesca), Octavio Almada, and on August 28 they presented it to Iván Rico, undersecretary of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat). .

"We are still waiting to build together with the authorities a definitive proposal that favors the orderly development of the shrimp season. We urge the authorities to fulfill their commitment and facilitate the necessary work tables. We reaffirm our commitment to conservation of the vaquita porpoise and compliance with fishing regulations, urging the entire sector to join these efforts for a sustainable future in the Upper Gulf of California. Collaboration and compliance are essential to achieve this shared objective"

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"We reiterate our commitments to keep the Zero Tolerance Zone free of navigation and fishing, as well as to voluntarily respect our proposal not to use gillnets within the limits of the Vaquita Refuge Zone, install remote geolocation devices "in small vessels, develop a community inspection and surveillance program, and carry out fishing activities in a responsible and authorized manner."

We demand that the authorities apply effective sanctions to those who fail to comply with these regulations and we commit to developing and applying our own code of conduct that promotes self-compliance. "Our determination is to ensure the conservation of the vaquita porpoise and guarantee a sustainable future for our fishing communities."they stated.

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