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Coastal fishermen in Puerto Peñasco have proposed federal offices broaden the polygon of the reserve for Totoaba and the Vaquita Marina within the upper Gulf of California. The proposal furthers they be included in the compensation program, which will go into effect during the 2 year fishing ban.
The ban on fishing with gillnets went into effect on April 29th for coastal fishing within the Upper Gulf, which is where the the fleets of Puerto Peñasco, Golfo de Santa Clara, and San Felipe are registered. This will impact at least 2000 families directly in Puerto Peñasco alone, as they were left out of compensation packages of one million pesos as the port was not included within the “influence area” of the reserve.
Given this situation, a committee made up of local coastal fishermen and supported by municipal officials has held fifteen meetings with staff from SAGARPA, SEMARNAT, PROFEPA and INAPESCA in seeking proposals to extend the buffer zone 300,000 hectares toward Puerto Peñasco. This will ensure the endangered vaquita marina will be truly protected while also including coastal fishermen in the support program for the two year ban.
Carlos Pino, member of the group representing “pangueros” (smaller boats), indicated they are also working on an environmental impact statement in the sense of showing those who decided upon the ban and compensation packages that their policies were inconsistent.
Rafael Peñuelas, also a local panga owner, stated the risks as fishermen from the Upper Gulf and San Felipe make their way to the shores of Puerto Peñasco to fish.