ENVIRONMENT - Key
While agro-industry and the tourism industry depend on available
fresh water, the fishing sector depends on a healthy marine
The marine areas near Baja California Sur are considered the
most productive zones in Mexico and among the most bio-diverse
zones in the world.
Coastal upwelling, water mass surges, and tidal circulation help
create a marine environment that supports a large-scale primary
productivity zone that feeds a whole array of species.
a consequence of the high marine productivity, Baja California
Sur enjoys the largest volume of fishing resources in Mexico,
and represents one of the four most important fishing regions of
the world. The state’s fleet – made up of approximately 4,000 vessels ─ however,
accounts for just 3.5% of the national total and most of them
are small boats (pangas) for small-scale coastal fishing,
an activity that supports almost all of the small villages on
both coasts. 650 species that can be used for human consumption
and industrialization have been identified. 122 of them are
currently being exploited; among them are pelagic fish
(tuna, sardines, anchovies, shrimp, and giant squid).
Near-shore fishing relies on abalones and other medium and large
gastropods (Cortez conch and panocha), lobster, clams (e.g.
catarina, mano de león,
hachet clam, Mule’s paw),
rock oysters, octopus, crayfish, flake fish, sharks, and rays.
Overall, fishing activities generate numerous jobs; production
is estimated to be 9% of the national gross domestic product.
According to local fishermen, over the past twenty years the
major high commercial value resources (red snapper, leatherback
bass, grouper, clams, and shark) have been over-exploited and
depleted. The causes of this depletion can be traced to several
prevalent practices: the use of “chinchorro” nets during
bottom trawling in enclosed areas, and the use of small mesh
nets that catch juveniles when sailing adrift; illegal fishing,
using spear guns and scuba diving equipment; incidental catches
of juveniles of species that are of interest to coastal fishing
(sea bream, leatherback bass, grouper, sole, etc.); and the
arrival of fishermen from other states who want to maximize
their earnings in the least amount of time possible.
carefully managed, aquaculture could be an attractive and
economically viable option in Baja California Sur. The state
has native species with high socio-economic potential, including
18 species of shellfish with high commercial market value (e.g.
oyster, scallops, mano de león
oyster, abalone, pearl oyster, nacar shell, medium and large
snails). The paradox is that during the last five years, initiatives to
install white shrimp farms (Magdalena-Almejas and La Paz Bay)
have been submitted by private businessmen, disregarding
available native species that might be better suited to local
environmental conditions. In addition, the state government and
its research consultants are promoting the installation of
yellowfin tuna, jurel, and sea bass farms in La Paz Bay, with
foreign companies that have restrictions on aquaculture in their
home regions and are looking for investment opportunities in
Other species also depend on healthy fisheries in the Gulf of
Gulf of California hosts more than one dozen cetacean species,
including eight of the eleven known whale species that occur in
Sea turtles, dolphins, seals, and sea lions are just some of the
other species that have resident and migratory populations in
the Gulf of California.
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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California)”, Ciencias Marinas, 1979, 6 (1-2),
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Gulf of California in Sping of 1970) Ciencias Marinas,
1978 5(1), pp. 57-69.
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Gob. Edo. BCS, FAO, INP, UABCS, CIBNOR, CICIMAR, CETMAR.
México 1996, pp. 2-4.
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perlicultura”(The cultivation of pearl oysters and
pearl cultivation), in Estudio del Potencial Pesquero
y Acuícola de Baja California Sur, Casas Valdéz, M.
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