A new study suggests that more small-scale fishing boats are operating in the Gulf of California than is economically and ecologically sustainable, suggesting that local fishermen are spending more time and money to catch fewer fish.
(From Science Daily) — Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego used images from satellites and flyovers to count the number of small boats, or pangas, to find that fishing in Gulf of California, which separates Baja California and mainland Mexico, is over capacity. The analysis suggests that future investment in the region’s fisheries may not be economically or ecologically viable.
The study, published on April 12 issue in the journal PLOS ONE, estimated that 34 percent more small-scale boats were operating at any given moment in the gulf during a three-year period (2006-2009). According to the analysis, 17,839 boats were operating in an area that can only sustain 13,277 boats to maximize the benefits of catching more fish per trip.
“The current overcapacity of boats means that fishermen are working harder to catch fewer fish,” said Andrew F. Johnson, a postdoctoral scholar in the Gulf of California Marine Program at Scripps and lead author of the study.
The researchers developed a new method that calculates predicted fishing effort, to predict where and how many small-scale fishing boats operate in the gulf. They compared the results to commercial fishery landings throughout the region to show that there are more small-scale fishing boats operating in the area than the predicted amount required to land the same amount of fish.
Read the full story here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170425143101.htm