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Fishermen from 3 communities awarded for their constant participation in the different activities held by CEDO as part of the Environment Impact Study (MIA) for a sustainable small scale fishing in the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve
Text and photos: Biól. Abraham Meza López, Edited by: Kelleen Farrell
To reach the goals of Environment Impact Study or MIA (Manifestación de Impacto Ambiental), CEDO manages 4 main programs. This amazing project guides local small-scale fishermen onto the road of sustainability for the fishing industry. This project is exciting because it is one of a kind in México. It covers the whole region of the Upper Gulf of California and 3 communities within the Upper Gulf. These 4 programs are: Social Participation, Training and Sensitization, Fisheries Monitoring, and On Board Monitoring. The first program involves fishermen in the decision-making actions that minimize the impact to the environment through small scale fishing. The goal of the second program is to conduct workshops to train fishermen on filling out logbooks during their work and other activities, as well as providing them with the knowledge to identify endangered species, and to value biodiversity and its dynamic with the environment. The third and fourth program have the goal of gathering information about the fishing activities, such as preferred fishing areas, fishing methods, main species catch for sell, bycatch species, affected endangered species, and other important information gathered through the monitoring program. This program is conducted by specialized staff. CEDO also receives the logbooks fishermen fill out and analyzes them.
Over time, methods and actions have been modeled for better results, but nothing can be done without the interest of fishermen on the sustainable fishing industry in the Upper Gulf of California. Thanks to the information gathered about the activities held with fishermen, we know that their interest and participation is increasing. Higher percentages of fishermen attend meetings and workshops, fill out and deliver logbooks, perform measures to minimize fishing industry impact, and spread the word of sustainability to others. Hope glimpses as we move forward to change the Upper Gulf of California, CEDO and fishermen holding hands, walking together and fishing for the future.
CEDO´s staff decided to organize for the first time an event where fishermen were informed about 2013 achievements and those who attended all meetings, all workshops or delivered logbooks to CEDO were awarded. One event was held at Puerto Peñasco (Better known as Rocky Point) on January 24th, a second event was conducted at Golfo de Santa Clara (The closest community to the Colorado River Delta) on January 28th, and 2 at San Felipe in Baja California on January 29th. Awards included a certificated and a package with 3 MIA t-shirts and 3 tide calendars.
The main goal of these events is to encourage fishermen to continue participating actively during all meetings and workshops held by CEDO. CEDO´s staff can´t be happier, as the results were shown immediately with the comments fishermen made at the end of the events, specifically a fisherman who came to CEDO´s director and told her “I have never been rewarded and I have never earned any certificate in my life. Today I feel really proud of myself”.
Incentives that look small to most of the people are needed in order to feel the pride of doing things well. Sometimes a small incentive can mean a mind change. CEDO´s staff feels very proud to be part of the change, and to be part of this transcendental project for the transformation of the fishing industry in the Upper Gulf of California.