Participatory management in a small-scale coastal fishery—Punta Abreojos, Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico
We describe the structure and historic landings of the Punta Abreojos fishing cooperative (Baja California Sur, Mexico) for the period between 2001 and 2015 to understand the dynamics of an economically and ecologically successful coastal fishing community according to catches and the direct income of fishers. A total of 21 commercial species were classified into three major groups: cultural resources, target resources and complementary resources. The most important resource in terms of total biomass was Paralabrax nebulifer(58.4%), followed by Panulirus interruptus and P. inflatus (13.6%). Seriola lalandi, Atractoscion nobilis, Caulolatilus princeps, Paralichtys californicus and P. woolmani made up minor proportions of the total biomass contributing 7.0%, 5.7%, 3.4% and 3.2% respectively. Haliotis fulgens and H. corrugata represented just 1.1% of the total biomass caught. Lobsters were the most profitable source of direct income for fisherman (77.5%), followed by the green and pink abalone (10.4%), barred sand bass (5.6%), white seabass (2.7%), California and speckled flounder (1.2%), yellowtail (1%) and whitefish (0.4%). The rest of the catch was composed of six species of finfish that represented 4.1% of the total catch biomass and 0.4% of the revenues from fishing.
This work provides a first clear base-line description of the fisheries in Punta Abreojos which implements a management program that aims to ensure the wellbeing of the fishers and the fishery. The cooperative has been successful in maintaining catch at levels considered optimal to sustain revenues and continued annual landings. A management and cooperative structure that allows for adaptive change whilst maintaining revenues of the fishers is testament to the stewardship of the community and the participatory management upon which the community is built. For this reason, Punta Abreojos should be considered an example of a successful small-scale fishing cooperative that other, less successful fishing groups, can learn from.