Foreign vessels carry out illegal fishing in Marine Protected Areas of Mexico

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At least 43 vessels with foreign flags presumably carried out fishing activities, within 17 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Mexico, denounced the influential organization Oceana, noting that Four Chinese-flagged vessels could have used highly damaging fishing gear, such as trawling, within the Mexican Deep Pacific Biosphere Reserve.

Based on data analyzed on the Global Fishing Watch platform, between January 2015 and October 2020, 46% of the MPAs in Mexico recorded fishing activities from vessels flying the flag of countries such as the United States, China, Venezuela, and Canada. , Oceana reports in its study The impact of the foreign fishing fleet in Marine Protected Areas. The full study can be consulted here: https://mx.oceana.org

Some of these vessels were detected making possible fishing in Marine Protected Areas where this activity is prohibited, such as the Islas Marías Biosphere Reserve. Vessels larger than allowed were also detected, apparently fishing in areas such as the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve.

Oceana experts identify activities of great negative impact on marine species and their ecosystems, such as trawling and seismic exploration, in the Mexican Deep Pacific Biosphere Reserve, which is the largest MPA in our country, where Unique ecosystems and habitats allow for species not found in other environments, and species at risk such as the common sperm whale and the spotted dolphin. 

Mariana Aziz, director of Oceana’s Transparency Campaigns in Mexico, said: “Marine Protected Areas were created to preserve vulnerable ecosystems and species, and are essential to maintain ecological balance and the abundance of fisheries. Its surveillance and monitoring is essential to combat illegal fishing and the looting of our resources. “

Precisely for this reason, to have more vigilant eyes and to strengthen the fight against one of the main threats to our species such as illegal fishing, Oceana, in alliance with Google and SkyTruth, created the Global Fishing Watch initiative, a free tool that allows satellite monitoring of the fishing activities of more than 70 thousand vessels around the world. 

According to the largest organization dedicated exclusively to the protection of the oceans, information on foreign-flagged vessels that enter and fish in our protected areas is essential to investigate and stop illegal practices that put our species, ecosystems and the environment at risk. future of fisheries in Mexico. Global Fishing Watch offers this information in an accessible and free way for citizens and authorities, thus contributing to the fight against illegal fishing.

“The data on where to fish, what fishing gear is used, the route and activities of vessels in protected areas, is information that must be public and accessible. Openness and transparency in the data will lead to better fisheries management and adequate conservation of marine resources ”, insisted Mariana Aziz.

Oceana is the largest international organization dedicated exclusively to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by pushing science-based policies in countries that control a third of the world’s wild fish catch.

In its organized existence, with more than 200 victories that have stopped overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and the killing of endangered species such as turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are paying off.

A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy meal of seafood, every day and forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit: www.oceana.org for more information.

Mexico Daily Post