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Institutional arrangements for artisanal shrimp fishery in the Gulf of California Rodriguez-Maynez, Liliana 2001

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR ARTISAN AL SHRIMP FISHERY IN THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA: A CASE STUDY by LILIANA RODRIGUEZ-MAYNEZ B.Sc, Institute- Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, 1995 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Resource Management and Environmental Studies) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 2000 © Liliana Rodriguez-Maynez, 2000 In p resen t i ng this thesis in part ial fu l f i lment of the requ i rements for an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e at the Univers i ty of Brit ish C o l u m b i a , I agree that the Library shall make it f reely avai lable fo r re fe rence and s tudy. I fur ther agree that pe rm iss i on for ex tens ive c o p y i n g o f th is thes is fo r scho lar ly p u r p o s e s may b e granted by the h e a d of m y d e p a r t m e n t o r by his o r her representat ives. It is u n d e r s t o o d that c o p y i n g o r pub l i ca t i on of this thesis for f inancial gain shall no t b e a l l o w e d w i t hou t m y wr i t ten p e r m i s s i o n . D e p a r t m e n t of T h e Un ivers i ty of Bri t ish C o l u m b i a V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a Da te D E - 6 (2/88) A B S T R A C T It is widely known in Mexico that there is a strong tendency to centralize governing functions, although the present government has shown interest in modifying this historic characteristic through the Programa de Decentralization or "Decentralization Program". However, this program has not reached the fisheries sector, which remains mostly controlled by the federal government, excepting the management of a few fisheries of secondary importance. The purpose of this study is to show the manner in which formal institutional arrangements, established by the central government for the purpose of managing the fishery, are "modified" or "adapted" to specific community needs. For this purpose 32 people were interviewed including fishers, fishers' wives, and federal and state government officials to discover their opinions about the following themes: trust, communication, knowledge of the fishing laws/policies/regulations, effectiveness of fishers as resource managers and effectiveness of government as resource managers. Accordingly, the initial suspicion was that given the strong centralization of power in the fisheries office in Mexico, fishers, in order to adapt national policies to local circumstances, had to modify these formal arrangements. However, it was found that government representatives living in the community perform this function more significantly than the fishers. The results show a degree of harmony between government and community, partly owing to informal arrangements that involve both fishers and government officials. Government officials living in EGSC are an important policy filter adapting national policies to local circumstances so as to improve the economic and social situation of fishers. While this arrangement has worked well, other arrangements will be required to address the increasing number of skip-boats and the trawling boats in the area of the Biosphere Reserve. These two factors, if ignored, could produce a critical situation in the community. TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii List of Tables • v List of Figures y i Acknowledgements vii CHAPTER I Introduction 1 CHAPTER II Objectives and Theoretical Background 4 2.1. Objectives 4 2.2. Application and Relevance of the Thesis 6 CHAPTER III The Methodological Framework 10 3.1. Introduction 10 3.2. Research Types 11 3.3 Sampling 12 3.4. The Interviews 14 3.5. Participant Observation 24 CHAPTER IV Document Review 25 CHAPTER V Case Study: El Golfo de Santa Clara 33 5.1. Introduction 33 5.2. Historical Development of the Community 34 5.3. EGSCinthe 1990's 38 5.4. The Fishing Activities 40 5.5. The Biosphere Reserve of the Upper Gulf of California 45 CHAPTER VI Formal and Informal Fishing Arrangements in El Golfo de Santa Clara . . . . 50 6.1. Formal Arrangements and how they Work 50 6.2. Informal Arrangements and how they Work 57 CHAPTER VII Interviews and Participant Observation 65 7.1. Fishers'Opinion 65 7.2. Government Officials' Opinion 88 CHAPTER VIII Possible Scenarios and Conclusions 94 8.1. Research Questions (and Possible Scenarios) 94 8.2. Conclusions 97 Bibliography 99 Annex I Sample of the Questionnaire Applied 103 Annex II. Sample of the Interview Applied Ill Annex III. Distribution of Responses (From Interviews) 115 Annex IV Categorization of Fishers' Interviews 119 LIST O F T A B L E S Table 3.1. (p. 11) Number and type of interviews conducted during the fieldtrips to EGSC. Table 3.2. (p. 14) Full list of fishers participating on the second fieldtrip Table 3.3. (p. 20) Questions and indicators used on each of the themes Table 4.1. (p. 25) Documents reviewed Table 5.1. (p. 38) Historical development of fisheries in the Upper Gulf of California Table 5.2. (p. 41) Species included in the Penaeidae family (Penaeus sp.) Table 5.3. (p. 44) 1987-1998 Curvina and shrimp landings in EGSC (kg) Table 6.1. (p. 55) Main legal framework for fisheries Table 6.2. (p. 56) Co-operatives registered in El Golfo de Santa Clara, Sonora LIST OF FIGURES Fig. 5.1. (p. 34) The Gulf of California is surrounded by the States of: Baja California Norte, Baja California Sur, Sonora and Sinaloa. Fig. 5.2. (p. 43) Scheme of a Chinchorro vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This thesis would not have been possible without the co-operation of many people, especially the fishers, fishers' families and government officials from the community of El Golfo de Santa Clara, Sonora, and the financial support from the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (CONACYT) of Mexico. I want to thank my family for their unconditional support and for always keeping me focused on doing my best not only in school but in my personal life. Very special thanks to Andrea, Atsuko, Chimis, Dani, Raul (what would I have done without you!), and to Marcelo for enduring the rehersals and the ups and downs of the thesis work. The IRE students and faculty, especially Terre and Les, kept my brain stimulated and provided invaluable advise and feedback. A very very special THANK YOU to Mike for all his support, tips, and patience, and for being a great supervisor. Finally, I would like to thank Chechi for keeping me going (in every sense) until the end of the thesis. Alea jacta est vii CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Natural resources constitute the foundation of the human economy. More and more frequently we see that many natural resources that seemed to be stable are suffering changes that make us wonder about their availability in the future. Deforestation, over-fishing, loss of biodiversity, water pollution, all lead us to question whether we are managing our resources in an appropriate way. Resource systems may not all be stable by nature, but certainly humans have had a hand in accelerating the depletion and degradation of many resource systems. Fisheries are a case in point. Almost half of the individual fish stocks worldwide are fully exploited, 16% are over-exploited and 6% are depleted. Examples of depletion include the collapse of sardine stocks off California and Japan in the 1940's, the anchovy off Peru and Chile in 1972, and, more recently, the collapse of the Canadian cod fishery in the early 1990's (Botsford et al. 1997). As Ludwig et al. (1993, p.36) point out: "Resource problems are not really environmental problems: They are human problems that we have created at many times and in many places, under a variety of political, social, and economic systems". The issue is how to best limit human use of resources so that their long-term economic viability can be assured. This issue is of particular relevance to common pool resources and leads to a key question: how should resources that are exploited by many different individuals be governed? Fisheries are one of the classic examples of a common pool resource in which open access leads to rapid over-exploitation (Gordon 1957, Hanna 1997). To prevent over-exploitation, governments have intervened with regulations of three basic kinds: output controls, setting an annual quota on harvest volumes; input controls, limiting the number of vessels allowed to fish or the kinds of gear that can be used; and time/area controls that protect nursery and/or spawning areas (Emerson 1997). As it became evident that such state-administered controls have often failed to prevent over-exploitation (Ostrom 1990), fisheries managers began considering the allocation of property rights to fish as an alternative means to restrain fishing effort. Considerable debate centers on whether such allocation of property rights to fish should be to individuals or collectives. 1 When property rights to fish are allocated to individuals typically each qualifying fisher is given or sold a number of quota units (shares of the resource). The quota units are freely transferable among fishers. The premise is that each fisher will harvest his quota in the most economically efficient manner so as to maximize his profits. Since fishers own or lease their quota, each individual has an incentive to make sure that the stock is harvested in a sustainable way (Emerson, 1997). On the other hand, when property rights to fish are allocated to a community (or collective) the premise is that individuals who have a common interest will pursue a joint benefit and will organize in such a way that the collective benefits are maximized and the fish stock is sustained. Community management has proved successful in a variety of resource situations. For example, large areas of common lands in Japan have been regulated by local village institutions for centuries. About 12 million hectares of forest and mountain meadows were managed by thousands of rural communities from about 1600 to 1867, and some 3 million hectares are still managed this way (Ostrom 1990). For fisheries, King (1997) reports that in Caye Caulker, a small caye off the coast of Belize with a population of less than 1000 people, lobster fishers are organized in the Northern Fishermen Co-operative Society, Ltd (NFCS). The community's defense of its fishing territory, the way it has defined community membership, and the organization of the membership in the NFCS have all contributed to stable catches of lobsters for at least 30 years. Mexico has a highly centralized system for natural resources management. The highest office holders in resource management are based in Mexico City, and policy and objectives for the fishery resources are set there. These policies and objectives are to be implemented by regional representatives of the Federal and State fishery authorities. Nevertheless, fishers have developed their own informal management system parallel to the formal one, which permits them to deal with problems unique to their local communities. The goal of this study was to describe the formal and informal management systems for the artisanal shrimp fishery in a small community in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico; to determine the whether or not there is conflict and/or complementarity between the two management systems; and to provide a set of recommendations on the management system for the community according to the results of the study. The community of El Golfo de Santa Clara was chosen as the case study. The 2 community is located in the northernmost part of the G u l f of California and the shrimp fishery constitutes the economic basis of the community. The thesis is organized as follows: chapter 2 describes the objectives and research questions in detail and the relevance of the study to our understanding of the systems of resource governance in small communities. Chapter 3 presents the tools and process of data sampling, details on the collection and analysis, as well as the limitations and scope of the study. Chapter 4 describes the community of E l Golfo de Santa Clara, in Sonora, Mexico and its fishery. It also gives a brief introduction to the Biosphere Reserve of the Upper G u l f o f California and Colorado River Delta, created in 1993, and the effects of the inclusion of the community of E l Golfo de Santa Clara as part of the nucleus area of the Reserve. Chapters 5 and 6 present the results from the interviews, field-based observations and documentary analysis. These chapters also describe the institutional setting for the management of natural resources in Mexico and its structure, the governance systems for fisheries management in the community of E G S C , and the different informal arrangements identified during the study. Chapter 7 presents a discussion of the results and study findings, and provides the conclusions drawn about formal and informal management of the fishery of E l Golfo de Santa Clara and the management suggestions. 3 CHAPTER TWO OBJECTIVES AND THEORETICAL BACKGROUND 2.1. OBJECTIVES The purpose of this study is to describe and assess the shrimp fishery management that is in place in El Golfo de Santa Clara (EGSC) Sonora, Mexico, through data gathered from interviews, field observations and analysis of documents. The focus of the study is the interplay of formal and informal management systems. In addition, however, the analysis provides some insight into the future sustainability of both the resource and the management system. These insights will be included in the discussion. The thesis' three main objectives are: 1) To describe and analyse the arrangements for managing fishing activities in the community of El Golfo de Santa Clara, 2) To determine the role of fishers as resource managers in EGSC, and 3) To identify complements and conflicts in the management approaches of the government and those of the community. To address the first objective, I consider such topics as administrative organisation, power sharing, role of science, and marketing of the product basing my analysis on government documentation, other studies of the Gulf of California fisheries, and personal observations in EGSC. To address the second objective I conducted a series of interviews of fishers and officials in EGSC. My analysis of this objective will be based on these interviews together with participant observations, and the literature on community based management. To address the third objective, I also depended on the interviews with fishers and officials and participant observation. Finally, I will consider the implications for the fishery and the community of different management approaches. 4 To address the study, the following research questions were developed: 1. How is the shrimp fishery taking place in EGSC?; 2. How are formal arrangements affecting the community?; and 3. Can the present system be maintained? The purpose of the research questions is to help in directing the thesis towards the set objectives and to keep track of the issues to be addressed. They provide the guide on what needs to be asked in order to address an issue. As well, the research questions were a guide in the construction and analysis of the interviews applied. Because I had already worked with the community a few years ago while I was a student at University, I had some expectations on what the answers to the research questions were and what the outcomes of the thesis could be. For the first question on how the shrimp fishery takes place in the community I was expecting the following: • Shrimp fishery is highly controlled by government officials (too centralised) • There are severe conflicts between fishers and government officials • Shrimp fishery is stable although there are many new fishers arriving each year For the second question on how formal arrangements affect the community I expected results similar to the following: • Fishers are upset with the current formal arrangements • Fishers oppose the arrangements and therefore there is a cause of conflict in the community • Formal arrangements do not take fishers into consideration For the third and last research question on whether or not the present system can be maintained I was expecting results that clearly showed that: • Fishers have a burning desire to change the present arrangements 5 • The current system is not environmentally sustainable and therefore also jeopardises the economic and social aspects of the community. There is a worrying increase in the number of fishers arriving to the community • The current arrangements in the community promote conflict and therefore will not last (they are not socially viable) • The economic aspect of the fishery is fine but if the environmental aspects are not watched it will decline dramatically in the following years. 2.2. APPLICATION AND RELEVANCE OF THE THESIS TO THE SYSTEMS OF GOVERNANCE IN SMALL FISHING COMMUNITIES This study is a description and analysis of the system of governance for shrimp fishery in EGSC that explores how the community translates the formal fisheries law into something that can be applied to their specific circumstances. It also forecasts the different scenarios that are likely to result if the present governance system continues into the future. Many studies have been made on the biology of the marine resources of the upper Gulf of California (Alvarez-Borrego and Gaxiola-Castro 1988, D'Agrossa 1995, Eddleman 1989, Glenn et al. 1992, Mellink and Palacios 1993, Roman and Hammann 1997) and of the economy of the region (Godinez-Plascencia et al. 1994, Zepeda et al. 1992). By contrast there are few studies of the anthropology and ethnography of the area (Addison-Sorey 1989, Aubert and Vasquez -Leon 1993), and none that deals with the governance of the fisheries. Some co-management projects are being developed for the Upper Gulf of California, but these are seen as a delegation of power to the community, and do not consider the power that is already in hands of the community and the government officials living there. Besides, these are ongoing projects and initiatives and there is no documentation available yet in order to evaluate them. This study tries to describe and analyse the power relationships among local fishers, local government officials and central government officials in a coastal Mexican fishing community and how these power relationships work to adapt the official management policy and regulations to local circumstances. 6 Literature on Community-based management claims that fisheries management can be improved through joint regulation and authority sharing between government bodies and fishers' organisations (Pinkerton 1989). Regarding small-scale (i.e. local) arrangements, Ostrom (1995) comments that even when small-scale institutions are not a sufficient solution for the protection of the natural resources, they play an important role on the multilevel governance system needed for the achievement of positive results. She also mentions that if large-scale governments dominate decision making through massive funding of activities or by strict regulation, the effectiveness of local institutions is reduced significantly. On the other hand, the absence of supportive large-scale institutional arrangements can also become a barrier for the achievement of management programs that reach the objectives of conservation and wise use of the resource, involvement of different users, and more important an agreement of co-operation among such users. Jentoft (1989) identifies some advantages and possible disadvantages of increasing the role of fishers' organisations in fisheries management. The main advantage he finds is that fishing regulations are more legitimate among fishers if they, through community-based organisations, have participated in the creation of such regulations. Among the possible disadvantages or barriers in involving fishers' organisations are the administrative issues involved in these organisations, and the possible conflict between traditional principles of the organisations and regulatory requirements of centralised management. Nonetheless, even when some disadvantages or difficulties of including fishers in a power-sharing for fisheries management have been identified, several authors have argued that power sharing is still a positive alternative to the present systems. For example, the community of Chino, Peru, which is located along the Tahuayo River, saw various of its natural resources heavily depleted in the mid 1980's as a result of an open access system (McDaniel 1997). The community leaders petitioned the government to establish a management program for the lake and the community was granted the right to control fishing in the lake. Now the area is managed by the community in conjunction with the Ministries of Fisheries and Agriculture. Regulations were designed within the community and community members have also proposed monitoring actions. McDaniel (1997) argues that now the community management is successful because the policies for conservation are made consulting the people affected by such policies. Including them in the policy making process has proved fruitful. The policies, decisions and monitoring 7 are made in conjunction with the community, but if any serious problem or dilemma should arise, the government representatives have the final word, and the community is satisfied with this approach because they have worked together and know it is a fair decision. This is possible since the creation of the regulations is now by communal agreement. Being an internally derived system, the motives and objectives of the management regime are unique to the community and are reflected in the configuration of the system. Ostrom (1995), through analysis of complex resource systems that have been successfully managed over long periods of time, infers that one of the similarities of such systems is the robustness and sustainability of the management institutions. In her view, it is very important to look at the institutional arrangements of management systems when attempting to prescribe a better management regime. She has proposed seven design principles that seem to characterise robust institutions: (1) Clearly defined boundaries, (2) Congruence between appropriation and provision rules and local conditions, (3) Collective choice arrangements, (4) Monitoring, (5) Graduated sanctions, (6) Conflict resolution mechanisms, and (7) Recognition of minimal rights to organise. One more feature is that these principles apply equally to different layers of nested enterprises in an overall institutional hierarchy. Clearly defined boundaries refer to the requirement that the effort put in conserving a working area or resource by local users cannot be nullified by outsiders with different interests. Congruence between appropriation and provision rules and local conditions means that whatever rules are established for a large-scale management plan will consider the local needs and circumstances, which will be reflected into a sub-set of rules specially designed for the area. Collective choice arrangements ensure that users participate in the negotiation and modification of rules. There is, thus, a higher probability that the users will follow such arrangements. Active participation of users in monitoring the condition of the resource and its use by others is one of the main characteristics of successfully managed systems. Such monitoring is most effective when it results in private benefits for the monitor as well as joint benefits for others (Ostrom 1995). Participants themselves often establish graduated sanctions in successful management systems, and the initial sanctions in such systems are generally low. Usually the sanctions involve a combination of economic and social disincentives to break the rules. To be effective, sanctions should be administered in an immediate and fair way. 8 Having a conflict resolution mechanism does not necessarily guarantee the endurance of institutions, but in various studies it has also been one of the key factors in the maintenance of a robust institution. These mechanisms can be informal. For a community successfully to create and administer its own institutions, any external authorities must be willing to recognise the legitimacy of the rules created. If the authorities are of the belief that only they can make rules then it is difficult for the community to engage in participatory management and monitoring. Pinkerton (1989) reports that there have been many examples of successful fishery management by resource communities. Some of these examples can be classified as informal co-management, which she defines as "a local-level management working in a complementary relationship with government rules" (Pinkerton 1989, pp. 286). Pinkerton argues that such informal arrangements can also improve fisheries management and the well being of fishing communities. Thus, the power relationships within and among actors involved in the resource system are crucial to the overall success of the management institutions. This thesis describes the power relationships among fishers, local officials and central administration in Mexico and analyses these relationships within the framework of community-based management summarised above. This thesis uses a case study methodological approach (which will be described in more detail in the next chapter) to address the research questions and it is worked also under some concepts of grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss 1967). The results, although preliminary, suggest an informal co-management arrangement between local officials and fishers as defined by Pinkerton (1989), with policies of the central administration being "re-interpreted" in the context of local circumstances. As it will be presented in the thesis, these arrangements have worked well in maintaining a social harmony for the time being but that does not ensure that they are sustainable, either socially or ecologically. This issue will be detailed in the final sections of the thesis but basically is a result of a lack of both a clear and common objective, and of a strong, robust institution. 9 CHAPTER THREE THE METHODOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK 3.1. INTRODUCTION The present thesis uses a "case" as both a methodology and an object of study. The original idea was to follow a qualitative research method based on the conceptual framework of grounded theory, but there was not enough time to keep going back to the community to refine the categories and establish a theory derived from the study. However, the case studied in the thesis also follows the framework used in a grounded theory study. A case study is "an exploration of a 'bounded system' or a case (or multiple cases) over time through detailed, in-depth data collection involving multiple sources of information rich in context" (Creswell 1997, p. 61). Creswell (1997) also mentions that the 'system' is bounded by time and place and that the case studied can be a program, an event, an activity or individuals. For the present thesis the case studied is an activity: shrimp fishery. More specifically, as it has been stated in the second chapter, the case study focuses in looking specifically at the arrangements present in the shrimping activities in a community located in the Northwest coast of Mexico in the Gulf of California. Three tools used to conduct the study were interviews, participant observation, and documentary review. Young (1996) asserts that interviews supplemented by other techniques such as observational and statistical ones often give the best results when conducting a grounded theory study. I made three fieldtrips to the community of El Golfo de Santa Clara (EGSC), to collect data, two in 1998 and one in 1999. During these visits I conducted 6 unstructured and 32 semi-structured interviews of fishers, government officials, and fishers' wives (Table 3.1). It was also during the fieldtrips that I conducted participant observations and collected government documents to review. 10 Table 3.1. Number and type of interviews conducted during the fieldtrips to EGSC. TOOL\SEASON SUMMER (July) FALL (October) Interviews 6 Structured 32 Structured 15 Unstructured Many unstructured Questionnaires' 5 Hardcopy 15 Hardcopy 14 Through Interview Remarks • Little Co-operation • Cooperative • Boredom • Dynamism First Impressions • Adjust of impressions • Questionnaire and interview improvement 3.2. RESEARCH TYPES Qualitative research is that which arrives at the findings by looking at the information qualities rather than quantities (Strauss and Corbin 1990). Since the objective of the thesis was to discover how people living in the community of EGSC follow and adapt the governance systems prescribed by officials in Mexico City to their fishing activities, a qualitative approach gave me more flexibility in my attempt to discover and explore the attitudes and thoughts of the participants in the study. A case study allowed me to work under the time constraints of the research and to draw on information from multiple sources (i.e. other studies, my previous experience with the community). This is an exploratory and descriptive study of the formal and informal arrangements for shrimp fishery in the community but it also presents some analysis of how this 1 As it was explained in the methodology chapter, the questionnaire applied was used as a source of information for the interviews but they were not analysed in a statistical manner. 11 arrangements arise from the social organisation of the community and how they effect the shrimp resource. Grounded Theory can be defined as "one that is inductively derived from the study of the phenomenon it represents. That is, it is discovered, developed, and provisionally verified through systematic data collection and analysis of data pertaining to that phenomenon" (Strauss and Corbin 1990, p.23). The grounded theory method provides a strict and organised guide to theory development integrated at each stage with a methodology of social research (Glaser 1978). Observations are condensed into conceptual themes that are later tested in the research settings and, as the conceptual themes are refined and linked, a theory evolves (Schutt 1998). Information collected is analysed to develop a hypothesis on the governance system in the community of El Golfo de Santa Clara (EGSC). Given the time and resource constraints of the project, it was not possible to complete the process of testing the results in a research setting and proceed to a theory development. That is why a case study was considered to be a more suited approach to reach the study's objectives. The results are examined in the context of the literature on community based fishery management, and some approaches to its further testing and refinement in research settings are described. 3.3. SAMPLING This study focuses mainly on two groups: fishers and fisheries officials (FO's). Fishers belong to the community of El Golfo de Santa Clara (EGSC), Sonora, Mexico, although the views of a few fishers from a different community who were exploiting resources in EGSC were also included. This latter group was not formally interviewed, however. Interest groups were identified at the beginning of the project: government authorities in the community (from the municipal, state and federal governments), leaders of fishing co-operatives, and a group of women involved in a scallop culture project. Since I had already worked in the community, I had a sense of who were some of the key actors and started the sample list with them. More names were added by speaking with researchers that are or had been conducting work in the community. For example, they suggested the names of fishers that are seen as "leaders" in the fishing activities, informed me of who were the oldest fishers in 12 town, etc. After choosing a few key participants for the interviews, snowball sampling was used for the selection of the rest of the fishers participating in the project. The snowball sampling technique works by allowing previous participants to identify or name other members of the population that could be part of the study. Newly identified members identify other members and that way the sample grows like a snowball (Henry 1990). Random sampling or stratified random sampling was not possible as there was no list of fishers and their affiliations for the community that would provide a basis for such sampling. I was able to interview only thirty-two people for the study given the time and resource constraints. I tried to capture the range of opinions by interviewing people belonging to different co-operatives, fishers that were not attached to any co-operative, and fishers of different social status, and different political views. A total of 9 officials were interviewed; four of them live in EGSC and represent the offices of Fisheries, Environmental Protection (PROFEPA), the National Institute of Ecology (INE), and Communications and Transportation (Port Captain). Five were from outside the community (all based in Guaymas, Sonora) and represent the offices of PROFEPA, Infrastructure and Ports, Fisheries Management and Support to Co-operatives. Twenty fishers participated formally in the study («=20). The sample includes fishers from 10 out of 14 co-operatives in the community; some had shrimp fishing permits and some did not. The distribution of the age range of the participants is between 23 and 70 years old and is shown in table 3.2. There are no documents that can provide information on how much money or how many things does a fisher own; therefore the "class" column is a rough classification of fishers by economic status based on the field-based observations. The higher the number, the higher the status, but it is tough to separate people from classes 2 and 3. However, class 1 fishers were those that live in a very apparent state of poverty (they live in single-room houses with cardboard/metal roofs, do not own anything, and are known to be some of the poorest people in town) and class 4 fishers are those known to have lots of money (they own cars, have nice houses and can afford new clothes) 13 Table 3.2. Full list of fishers participating on the second fieldtrip («=20) Participant ID Age Class Participant ID Age Class 2-1 55 2 2-11 23 2 2-2 48 3 2-12 45 4 2-3 64 1 2-13 38 1 2-4 28 3 2-14 42 2 2-5 50 3 2-15 46 1 2-6 32 3 2-16 53 4 2-7 60 4 2-17 70 2 2-8 28 2 2-18 45 4 2-9 32 3 2-19 48 3 2-10 65 2 2-20 26 2 3.4. THE INTERVIEWS 3.4.1. Interviews as a tool to collect data Both an interview protocol and a questionnaire were developed for use in this study but the questionnaire proved unsuccessful as a means to gather data. Community members accepted the questionnaire willingly but always failed to complete and return it. The interview, therefore, proved the most effective tool for obtaining information from the fishers about the state of the fishery and its management. Interviews are a flexible and valuable tool because they allow a more permissive atmosphere than using other techniques of research. The interviews used in this study had the objective of obtaining information on a set of issues in such way that it allowed the participant to elaborate on the topics and provide their points of view extensively. Some characteristics of interviews which made it a more suitable tool for the project than others, are that questions not fully understood by participants can be rephrased and that the interviewer has a greater opportunity to assess the honesty and validity of answers through rephrasing the original question and asking related questions. Another advantage is that the interviewer, through field observations and informal conversations, can triangulate all the 14 information collected and, thus, has a greater ability to differentiate in the field between fact and fiction given by informants. Also, participants often feel freer to express their feelings and thoughts during interviews than when filling out a questionnaire (Young 1966). This allows participants to elaborate on their answers and, in general, allow for a broader range of response that makes them feel comfortable because they are not presented with the disjunctive of answering "right or wrong", as some people feel is the case with questionnaires. Some disadvantages of intensive interviews include a restriction in the number of participants to be interviewed because this tool is labour-intensive and each participant may take a longer or shorter time in answering and commenting about the topics covered in the interview. Another disadvantage is that allowing participants to elaborate on their answers may make it harder when trying to cover all the topics. In a survey, such as a questionnaire, the order of questions follows a sequence that keeps the participant in line and on the topic required, and that way it is easier to elicit their answers. During the project I made three visits (fieldtrips) to the community. The first visit was from July 23rd to the 31st and the second one from October the 2nd to the 30th, both in 1998. The third fieldtrip was a short visit of two days, May 29th and 30th, in 1999. The first two fieldtrips used interviews as the tool to collect data, and besides being conducted at two different times, were of different sorts. The first set consisted of unstructured interviews conducted during the first visit. For unstructured interviews it should be understood that the aim is to gather a broad range of information in order to be able to select main issues. Their main purpose was to identify critical issues in the fishery as perceived by fishers and officials in the community. The second set of interviews was a semi-structured type and was conducted during the second visit to EGSC. For semi-structured interviews should be understood those which aim to gather information on more specific issues than do the unstructured ones, yet are open enough to allow the participants to provide more information and comments if they wish to do so. The semi-structured interviews did not necessarily follow an established order of the topics addressed, but the participants definitely had to respond to all the topics (unless they did not know about it, but still information was gathered on why they do not know about certain topics). They were also designed to obtain specific information about the issues previously identified and about how members and outsiders viewed management of the shrimp fishery. These interviews 15 were designed to elicit more information about the concepts (themes) that emerged as particularly important from the unstructured interviews. Nevertheless, they still gave the participant latitude to elaborate on the topics or even bring up new ones they considered relevant. Unstructured interviews (also called open-ended or intensive interviewing) seek to find out what kinds of things exist, what is going on in the study area. It is a tool in and of itself. Semi-structured interviews are guided conversations developed to elicit detailed and rich information from the participants and seeks to discover their experience and beliefs about a topic or situation in the study (Lofland and Lofland 1984). Prior to my departure for the first fieldtrip I compiled general information on the community: what were the latest studies conducted in that area, what was their shrimp and fish production in the last few years and what was the demographic structure in the community, among other things. For this purpose I searched for literature and fisheries statistics on the community, contacted people working in the government of Sonora, and talked to researchers that had been working in the community. The information that I was able to collect in this manner suggested that I should limit my focus during the first field trip to a few topics: fishers' organisation for the shrimp fishery, relationship between government authorities and community members, and between local and external authorities, status of the fishery, and role of women in the fishing activities. Although I planned during the first field trip to answer these questions, I also intended to discover what other questions should be included in the interview. This first visit to EGSC took place from July the 23rd to the 31st in 1998 during a season known in the community as "el piojo" (the louse), when there is no fishing activity going on. Six people were interviewed in an unstructured way and fifteen more people participated in informal talks. The participants were selected according to their availability, but emphasis was put on getting the views of some of the authorities, researchers, and fishers in the community to get a first impression of how the fishery is organised. This first fieldtrip allowed me to discover or confirm some of the main issues facing the community and the views of some important actors on these issues. I was also able to fill in some of the information gaps left by the literature review and the communications with other researchers and authorities to identify who could be a 16 potential key participant in future interviews, and begin establishing a bond of trust with the community. 3.4.2. Structure of the Interviews The information gathered during the first fieldtrip allowed me to select the key issues that define the relationship between the fishers and the government officials in EGSC and to design a semi-structured interview to gather more specific information about the community and the fishing activities taking place there. I decided to use the themes of trust, knowledge of fishing-related policies/regulations, communication, and effectiveness of government and of fishers as resource managers to construct the interviews. These themes encompass the issues in fishery management most frequently elaborated on by participants in the preliminary interviews. In my informal talks with members of the community during the first fieldtrip, I heard contradictory comments about the government's performance and the degree of trust fishers had in it, such as: 1. "It is impossible to trust the government; I don't think they do a good job and many times we just do things on our own. It doesn't matter, at the end the results are the same but with the difference that we don't depend on them to do our own stuff. They are a waste of time most of the time" (Participant # 2) 2. ". . .well, the officials here are our friends, our pals. We help them, they help us. We fishers are born dumb and know nothing but fishing. That is why we need them. They help us to do all the paperwork and stuff like that.... If we were alone, i f we did not have them by our side, probably some people would abuse us. And that would not be fair" (Participant # 15) 3. "Oh no, you don't want to sell your product out of the line (referring to selling it to a buyer other than the government). It is not worth it! The government always gets us a better price and it is rather safe to sell all the shrimp to them. You cannot trust anybody else; sometimes we sold our fish to other buyers and we were left hanging on. They never paid it to us" (Participant # 16) I thought that the variety of perspectives on how people feel about the government and its actions was something to be expected since different individuals would have had different experience with officials. 17 To cite another example of implied conflict between fishers and managers that arose during the first fieldtrip, when asked about the government's regulations for fisheries, some participants made comments such as the following: 1. "...they (government officials) can say whatever they want; anyway we will do what we want; we know more than them (referring to the fishery)" (Participant # 2) and, 2. ".. .they (government officials) can give a mass on what to do (this meaning that they can speak as much as they want) anyway we will just 'throw them to the lions' (this is a common expression in Spanish meaning that what is being said is not considered important and thus, can be dismissed)" (Participant #19) Comments such as these led me to include questions such as: How much compliance with written laws and regulations is there in the community, how much do government officials know about the "fishers' knowledge", do most fishers think alike (and if so, is there any major leader of the group) or are there contrasting views (and if so, does this produces any conflicts in the community)? What caught my attention in these examples, however, was that the fishers' suggested a good relationship with government officials, even in the case of fishers who made negative comments about the government. They would always go to the officials to get approval for what they intended to do and to ask for advice on how to do something, such as how to obtain a permit or how to hand in their catch data. It seemed as though, in spite of occasional conflict, the fishers and officials worked together effectively. 3.4.3. Themes and Indicators The interview consisted of a series of questions that addressed the objectives of the project, and were organised within one of the following themes: Trust. Confidence in a person or thing because of the qualities one perceives or seems to perceive in him or it //To rely on (someone) to do something or permit (someone) to use something in the proper way. This definition comes from the Webster's Dictionary but I find a need to elaborate on it in order to reflect its importance for the project. Trust is a basic 18 component of a lasting social relationship; "it is a form of belief that includes something unconditional and irreducible to the fulfilment of systemically mandated role expectations" (Seligman 1997, pp. 44). Including TRUST as one of the themes of study, therefore, has the purpose of analysing the basis of the relationship between and among fishers and officials, as well as that of the actions and rules in the fishery management. This information explains some of the actions taken by both fishers and government officials and it also helps planning on how future improvements can be made. What are the social resources and bases that the community has on which a better management system can be created? Knowledge (of fishing-related policies'/regulations). The state of knowing (gesture or behaviour that suggests a person apprehends with the conscious mind // to be acquainted with by experience), cognition (Webster's Dictionary). I include this theme because I believe it is important that fishers are aware of and understand the fishing-related policies. If a person does not know the rules of the game, he cannot be expected to play a fair game. On the other hand, it is not only knowing the rules, but also understanding what is the purpose of such rules. In this project I am not measuring quantitatively how much each fisher knows, but I address the main policy actions that take place in the community: season opening times, how these are established, and how familiar are fishers with the Fisheries Legal Framework. Communication. A sending, giving or exchanging (of information, ideas, etc) (Webster's Dictionary). Communication is, like trust, an important action in any relationship and during its process the role of sending and receiving is alternated or at least shared depending on who is talking and who is listening. This process implies freedom, equality, and shared interest (Moemeka 1994). Including communication as one of the themes of the study implies finding out more about the relationship between the government and the fishers and among fishers themselves. I believe that the communication in a community is a reflection of its institutional strength and future. By including "communication" as a theme I look at the quality of the relationships taking place in the community. Do they communicate or they just talk? Effectiveness (for both, government and fishers, related to the management of the resource). Causing or capable of causing a desired or decisive result // In use, in force or in operation //Actually available for service (Webster's Dictionary). Fishers' perceived effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the government's actions help explaining why alternate 19 actions are taken in the community, or in the opposite case, explains why some regulation measures are successful. "Effectiveness" is not only looking at whether the government or fishers' actions are good or not, but at how much capacity such actions have to change the behaviour of the other. In order to establish the criteria on what information would go to each theme several questions and indicators were used: Table 3.3. Questions and indicators used on each of the themes T H E M E QUESTIONS INDICATORS Trust - Do fishers express trust in government officials? - Do fishers express trust in government regulations? - Do government officials express trust in fishers? - Fishers believe officials are honest and reliable people; they think their main objective is to help the fishers and not something else - Fishers believe the purpose of the regulations is good and that it will be useful - Officials believe fisher's will make the most appropriate decisions; officials think fishers are capable of self-organisation and self-discipline Knowledge of - Do fishers know the Fishing Law? fishing- - Do fishers know about closures? related - Do fishers understand the government policies policies? - It has been explained to them/They know their use/They can talk about its different parts/ - They know the opening and closing dates/Know what they are for - Fishers know what policies are in place/ what is the purpose of the policy/they know how it came into place - Is there a mechanism for communication between the government and the fishers? - Do officials consult w/fishers re state of fisheries, management plans and influence of regulations? - Is there a good communication in the co-operatives? - Is there an open "access to information" in - There were consultation meetings for the policies in place - There is a communication bulletin or sort of newspaper - Fishers are informed of main issues of the fishery -Co-operatives know what other groups are doing (and not by speculation)/co-operatives 20 the community? get together to work on shared issues - Do fishers' opinion re INP/CRIP reflect - Public documents are available from the knowledge of the agency? authority's offices Effectiveness - Are government regulators understanding - Officials know what the fishers' interests & of and sympathetic to the objectives of fishers? objectives are/officials help in reaching government - Do community based "regulations" and objectives/clarify their objectives as fisheries government regulations show to be - Informal arrangements (IA) support the manager complementary or mutually reinforcing? objective of the formal arrangements/IA - Is compliance with government regulations reduce the possibilities of conflict/IA have high? increased conflict in the community - Are conflicts between different segments of - Officials agree that compliance is high/there the fishery low, especially between locally is a low number of sanctions based and outside fishers? - There are few conflicts between co-operative - Is technology change in the fishery driven members, and between fishers from different by fishers, not outside agencies? communities - Does traditional knowledge of fishers - Reasons for change of technology/fishers had suggest the resource is healthy? the initiative for such change - Is the economic condition of the fishery - Fishers believe the resource is in decline / regarded as good or acceptable by fishers? fishers don't see a problem in the resource - Is formal data on economic value of the abundance resource harvest stable or increasing in - Fishers feel that with their present income constant pesos (dollars) or, i f decreasing, is they can afford more or less the same than a within the recorded and/or remembered range few years ago of variation? - The numbers show a more or less stable economic value of the season catch (in dlls)/the numbers show a decline in the economic value of the resource Effectiveness - Are community approaches to management - There are meetings with co-operative of fishers as open and openly discussed? members to review fish mgt issues resource - Are fishers' associations strong and - Fishers feel safe by being part of a co-managers reliable? operative/there is not a large number of co-- Is data relating to catches and assessments operatives closed/no large number of co-of stocks indicating a healthy resource? operatives created in a short period of time - Is conflict low among local fishers? - Catch numbers stable/declining - Do fishers' associations adapt to community - Fishers are satisfied with the co-operatives wants & resource needs? work/fishers think co-operatives are obsolete - Does government regard the fishers' organisations 21 managing role as good or acceptable? - Officials believe fishers take care of the resource/officials think fishers are well organised/officials think fishers could manage the fishery without government help The indicators allow the allocation of the information gained in the interview into the specific themes in order to facilitate its analysis. For example, in 3.3 the theme of trust is evaluated by three questions: 1) Fishers express trust in government officials, 2) Fishers express trust in government regulations, and 3) Government officials express trust in fishers. These three questions cover the trust issues that matter to the community: trust to and from the authorities. The fishers' primary objective is to get the most fish product in a season and their behaviour is almost exclusively determined by this objective. As a consequence, the authorities believe that fishers' behaviour is quite predictable. The second fieldtrip took place from October the 2nd to the 30th. During this trip community members and government officials were interviewed (see Annex I). The design of the interview was such that it posed questions about specific issues but still allowed for new topics to emerge and gave the participants an opportunity to express their thoughts. The interviews for community members consisted of four sections: occupational history, comments related to the government and authorities, status of the fishery and working activities, and general information on the community and the fishery. Each section included questions covering the different indicators used for the themes defined above. The interview for government officials was very similar except for part two, which in their case was "comments related to the fishers and the way they manage the resource". The first section, occupational history, included questions on the background of the participants such as what they do for living, length of time they have been doing this activity, type of relationship with the authorities and community members, and number of people in their family working in the same activity (only for the community members' interviews). Section two, comments related to the government, included questions about the participant's views on the performance and duties of the government, potential options for fisheries management, interest of authorities in the community, and knowledge of regulations. Section two for the government official's interviews had similar questions but from the perspective of the authorities 22 regarding the fishers as resource managers. The third section, status of the fishery and working activities, included questions concerning the participants' view of the present and future of the fishery, the organisation of fishers for the shrimp fishery, the social hierarchy of fishers in EGSC, and comparisons of performance of fishers in EGSC with those of other Upper Gulfs communities. The last section included questions on leadership in the community, management of the family income, special festivities in town (since most people in EGSC are involved in fishing activities, celebrations are usually marine and fishing related), and related questions aiming to provide some insight into the social life and economic structure in the community. 3.4.4. The Questionnaire A questionnaire was developed to obtain measurable information on the participants' views on each of the themes. The questionnaire was intended to be a complement to the interviews that would allow a more quantitative description and analysis of data, while the interviews provided both quantitative and qualitative data. The questionnaire was made of three parts (see Annex II): Fishing history, relationship with other fishers and government representatives, and fisheries management. To answer the questions or statements, participants only had to fill in the blanks, choose a statement, or select a rank in the measuring scale. Different "tactics" were used to make the questionnaire easy for the fishers and to convince them to fill it in. It was folded in a plastic bag and a couple of candies were included in it. It was printed in both sides of the sheets to make it look very thin and easy to complete. Even with these incentives, few fishers completed and returned the questionnaire: of 60 distributed only 13 were returned. The reasons fishers gave for not returning the questionnaire were various: they lost it, forgot it at home all the time or they did not want to answer it. I surmise that they refused to answer a questionnaire because they have been filling in questionnaires for different projects and studies for many years and were simply fed up with questionnaires. The information from the 13 questionnaires that were returned was folded into the interview data set to provide additional information on the themes. 23 3 . 5 . PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION Participant observation is "a qualitative method for gathering data that involves developing a sustained relationship with people while they go about their normal activities" (Schutt 1998, p.280). I used participant observation as a means to discover new information that did not emerge in the interviews and as a means to elaborate and give context to the information from the interviews. The observations proved very helpful in scoring interviewees' answers by providing a means to crosscheck whether answers to the interview were consistent with what the interviewees said and did outside the interview. Participant observation was used during all three visits to the community as a means to understand the lifestyles and behaviour of the fishers and government officials during their daily lives. It was also used during interviews to monitor body language and other behaviour of the interviewee so as to judge problems with the interview and the possibility that some answers might not be reliable. During interviews, since most were tape-recorded, only field notes were taken to complement the taped answers. General information such as name, age, and time of the interview was written down, as well as the place and context of the interview. To avoid interrupting the participant notes were made on points that were not clear and would need a complementing response. Also, notes were taken on the attitude of the participant at the time; how much did they hesitated when responding, what were the causal relations being formed between facts, what was their body language like, and any particular incidents happening during the interview. During informal discussions participant observation was more open. It was easier in the informal discussions for me to feel free to ask why something was being done the way it was. Also, if I was with an individual or a group of people who were discussing an issue, I could interrupt with a question and get involved in the discussion. A third tool to collect data was by reviewing documents related to natural resources management in Mexico and it will be described in the next chapter. 24 CHAPTER FOUR DOCUMENT REVIEW Document review was used in this project to provide data and information on policies, laws and/or regulations of the central government for fisheries and to obtain statements about how the government expects fisheries to be managed. It was also used as a tool to check the congruence between the official position on an issue and the information obtained from interviews and personal observations made during the fieldtrips. The documents reviewed contain official information provided by the government on fishing-related activities and issues. This information was reviewed in the context of the five themes previously established for the interviews' analysis. Table 4.1. Documents reviewed Programa de Pesca y Acuacultura The document presents the status of fisheries in Mexico in 1995, their major D O C U M E N T CONTENT (Fisheries and Aquaculture Program 1995-2000) 1995-2000 problems, and their development potential. It also sets the goals, policies, and priorities for the sector in the 1995-2000 period and describes the series of programs which will help achieving the goals. The document allowed me to look at the trends in fisheries management policy and provided a comparison for the needs that I had for the EGSC fishery. Naturales Programa Sectorial del Medio Ambiente y los Recursos (Sectorial Program for the This document provides a general overview of the objectives for natural resources management in Mexico. Fisheries management is part of these more general objectives. I reviewed this document to determine its congruency with the Programa de Pesca y Acuacultura 1995-2000. Environment and Natural Resources) Programa de Manejo de la Colorado Reserva del Alto Golfo de California y Delta del Rio Provides the agreed management plan for the region of the Biosphere Reserve including fishing activities. This document is relevant to the project because the Biosphere Reserve includes the community of EGSC and thus, any management measures affecting the reserve will also affect the community. (Management Program for the 25 Biosphere Reserve of the Upper Gulf of California and the Colorado River Delta) Estadisticas del Medio Ambiente Document that provides information on the environment in Mexico and how it en Mexico 1997 (1997 Environmental Statistics in Mexico) has changed in the last years. It also describes the management of some of the natural areas, including the Biosphere Reserves. This document was included to understand better the management of the Biosphere Reserves not only in Mexico but also world wide, and to obtain information on the status of shrimp fishery in Mexico. Anuario Estadistico Pesquero (Annual Fishery Statistics for 1997) Provides information on catches of marine resources in Mexico. It was included in the project to provide information on the shrimp catches in Mexico in general and in Sonora in particular. Pescando Entre Mareas del Alto Golfo de California (Fishing in the tides of the Upper Gulf of California) Document that provides information on the artisanal fisheries, fishers, and management proposals in the Upper Gulf. This document filled information gaps on how the artisanal shrimp fishery is made in EGSC, and provides a condensed set of proposals on how to improve the economic situation in the community, which I used to complement my findings. Diario Oficial de la Federation (Federal Official Diary -Gazette. Various Numbers) These Diaries are the official communication system where government information is published. I used two of them: one presents information on what are the duties of the agencies and officials that work with fishing-related activities (SEMARNAP); the second one presents the creation of the Biosphere Reserve and its management measures. Ley General del Equilibrio Ecologico y la Protection al Ambiente - L G E E P A (General Law on Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection) The L G E E P A was recently amended (1996) and provides the legal framework for the use and protection of natural resources (federal) in Mexico. It has specific sections on biodiversity, sustainable use of natural elements, environmental protection, social participation and environmental information, sanctions, security and control measures. Ley General de Cooperativas (Co-operatives General Law) Provides the legal and regulatory framework under which Co-operatives work in Mexico. I used it to look for congruency between participants' opinions and comments on the management of the co-operatives, and the official requirements for doing so. 26 Ley de Pesca (Legal Framework Is the legal and regulatory framework for fishing activities in Mexico, and it for Fisheries 1992) was used to learn about the processing of licenses and the actions allowed for fisheries management, and it was contrasted with what was seen during the fieldtrips. The main findings after reviewing the documents are presented in this section: Governance The institution with the highest authority for the management of natural resources in Mexico is the Ministry of the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries - SEMARNAP (Fig. 5.1). SEMARNAP was created in December 1994 with the fusion of the Fisheries (SEPESCA), Social Development (SEDESOL), and Agriculture and Hydraulic Resources Ministries (SARH) which are now sub-Ministries (sub-Secretariats). It is, thus, a young governmental agency. The Fisheries Ministry became a Sub-Secretariat, and is a branch of SEMARNAP. It manages issues related to the living aquatic resources in Mexico such as distributing fishing licenses, providing economic support for infrastructure development and fishers' training, among other responsibilities. SEMARNAP also includes a series of decentralised agencies. "Decentralised" means that even when they belong to SEMARNAP, their decision-making power is to some extent outside of that of the centralised agencies and their research capacity is not directly linked to the Ministry. Also, the leaders of such decentralised agencies have a greater bargaining power with the Minister than leaders from non-centralised agencies. Some of the decentralised agencies relevant to the present study are the National Fisheries Institute (INP), the Federal Agency for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) and the National Institute of Ecology (LNE). The National Fisheries Institute (INP) is the body in charge of aquatic resources research but, as its name implies, it is strongly focused on fisheries. The INP provides the Fisheries Sub-Secretariat with, among other things, stock assessments and information for decision making of closure dates, number of licenses given, and potential to exploit new species (Ley de Pesca 1992). The Federal Agency for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) is in charge of 27 monitoring and enforcing the law for the prevention and control of environmental pollution, natural resources, forests, wild flora and fauna, and fisheries, among others (LGEEPA 1997). It has the power to take the necessary measures to protect the environment. The National Institute of Ecology (INE) is the decentralised agency in charge of designing the general ecological policies and its application tools. For the objectives of this thesis, and since the case study is a community included in a Biosphere Reserve, it is valuable to note that INE is the organisation managing the protected areas in Mexico. Regulatory Framework 1. Programa de Pesca y Acuacultura 1995-2000 (Fisheries and Aquaculture Program 1995-2000): The document is divided in six sections: presentation, general overview, general objectives of the program, goals, strategic policy and priorities, and programs and subprograms. Among the programs and subprograms that in one or other way address the study issues of this thesis (social aspects of the fisheries) are: the strengthening program for fisheries and aquaculture research, the program for fisheries management, and the subprogram of integrated development of artisanal fisheries in marine and continental waters. I found that even when some of the objectives of the programs, or the program itself, are vague, SEMARNAP is now attempting to address with more emphasis the artisanal fisheries in Mexico. Some of the objectives are as basic as: "To elaborate a registry of fishers, fishing methods, equipment and skip-boats of the main artisanal fisheries in the country", "To determine the maximum sustainable yield of the mains species and regions as a sound basis of the (fisheries) ordenamiento (management)", (6.4.1. Subprogram on fisheries ordenamiento (p. 71, 72), and "To generate a series of regional pilot studies of the fishers' communities, involving multidisciplinary work groups, directed to the study of the biological, economical and social subsystems in order to integrate each one of the parts and come up with a diagnostic of the fishers' communities, identifying their problems and proposing viable alternatives for it solution" (6.4.4. Subprogram of integrated development of the artisanal fisheries in maritime and continental waters, p.74) 28 It will not be possible to determine whether or not the objectives and goals of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Program were achieved or at least started, until the year 2001. I did not learn of any of these projects being conducted up until now, but they may be run in the next year. 2. Programa Sectorial del Medio Ambiente y los Recursos Naturales (Sectorial Program for the Environment and Natural Resources): This Program is basically an introduction to the previous Program addressed. It does not provide such specific objectives as the Fisheries and Aquaculture Program and it is more a theoretical and bureaucratic document, although it is consistent with such a program. It was reviewed for this project but it was not analysed because the Programa de Pesca y Acuacultura is more specific and relates directly to the thesis work. 3. Programa de Manejo de la Reserva del Alto Golfo de California y Delta del Rio Colorado (Management Program for the Biosphere Reserve of the Upper Gulf of California and the Colorado River Delta). The Program is divided in five sections: introduction, diagnosis, integrated management, components of the management program, and proposal for the management and instrumentation of the management program. The diagnosis section provides some information on the environmental problems in the region of the biosphere reserve, which includes the community of EGSC. It is recognised in this section that: "...declared a region as a nucleus zone...all fishing activities were prohibited in this region. Not withstanding, up until now there are still activities being developed in this region on important fishing species, such as the curvina, shrimp and totoaba" (2.5. Problems, p. 24) These statement shows that the government is aware of some of the illegal activities taking place in the region but is also aware of the importance of such activities and actions in the communities surrounding the nucleus zone and of the fact that it does not have an alternative activity for the fishers, nor even the resources to enforce application of the law, rules and/or policies. Also included in this section is the prohibition (at the time) of the drift nets that have been used for the fishery in the community for several years, and that a few months after the release of the Management Program for the Biosphere Reserve were approved as a sound fishing technique. 29 It was in this Management Plan were the shrimp season was established to start and end on a fixed date: from September the 15th to February the 15th. All the actors involved in the fishery such as the governmental authorities, small and large-scale fishing vessels and research and conservation institutions negotiated these dates. This action was a big step forward in the management of natural resources in Mexico because it was a historical trend that decisions were made with minimal or null consultation and involvement of stakeholders. The section on integrated management addresses how the division on regions and zones was made for the establishment of the Biosphere Reserve. These section of the Program also includes the management policies were it is established that the protection or nucleus zone emphasises the maintenance of the environment in its natural state and limits the degree to which humans can intervene in the area. It explains that the buffer zone is divided in two types, a protected area with active use, and a controlled use area. The protected area with active use also emphasises the maintenance of the environment but increases the degree to which human activities can be made in the area. The controlled use area is applied in areas of active or potential production as well as in areas that require a decrease on the impacts derived from the different production activities. This objective is accomplished through the optimisation and control of the activities' growth and under the strict enforcement of the norms, ecological criteria, and the legislation. There are multiple benefits derived of the management policy for the Reserve area, such as biodiversity conservation, mitigation of natural risks, support to research and environmental education, conciliation of the productive activities, and management of growth and development with the ability to direct it to areas with best suitability for those purposes. There are also some identified limitations for the achievement of objectives in the different zones. These include an exclusion of portions of the territory that have a potential to be incorporated to the regions' economy through production activities, creation of conflicts of land tenure, and rise in operation costs for the productive activities when integrating the costs of environmental regulations. 4 and 5. The Estadisticas del Medio Ambiente en Mexico 1997 (1997 Environmental Statistics in Mexico) and the Anuario Estadistico Pesquero (Annual Fishery Statistics for 1997) provided information on numerical estimates for the environment in general and fisheries in particular. Since it is all aggregated information on the catch volume and number of boats for 30 each State, the information for the community of EGSC had to be detailed for EGSC, and this was obtained in the fisheries office of the community. However, the statistical history of the shrimp fishery in a general context (for all Mexico) was useful to understand the high importance of shrimp fishery in the country and therefore its relevance for a small fishing community dependent on it. 6. Pescando Entre Mareas del Alto Golfo de California (Fishing in the tides of the Upper Gulf of California): This is a recent document that provides information on the artisanal fisheries, fishers, and management proposals in the Upper Gulf. I found that even when it is a rough guide to the communities of the Upper Gulf of California, this document is the only one to provide a more or less detailed explanation of how each fishery is conducted in the region. The document brings together a set of fisheries management ideas and proposals that fishers came up with during the study. These are divided into fishery in general and specific proposals for each fishery. Among the ideas for the fisheries in general are a larger control of trawlers in the area, an increase in the water flux released through the Colorado River into the Upper Gulf of California, an increased effort in the monitoring of the resources, and the limitation of the fishing effort. For the shrimp fishery in particular, fishers asked for a halt in the increase of new skip boats, an identification of the true fishers (those belonging to the community and with a few years of experience as fishers), and moving the shrimp season to start two weeks later (on October 1st). This last proposal, as it will be discussed on chapter 6, is a sign that fishers have not really decided as a group what starting date for shrimp fishery would be better for them and the resource as well as what policies they are willing to support to protect their resource. As it was mentioned in the review of the Management Program for the Reserve, the fishers were among the stakeholders negotiating the Program where it was decided that the fixed time for the season would be from Sep 15th to Feb 15th, yet it seems to be some disagreement in some of the measures adopted. 7. Diario Oficial de la Federation (Official Gazette-Various Numbers): and Ley Organica de la Administration Publica - L O A P (Organic Law on Public Administration). The gazette publishes all the information, legal or structural changes, and bids offered by the government. The LOAP is the framework for the different duties and responsibilities of each 31 governmental organisation. They provided me with information on the duties of the different agencies that deal with fisheries management in Mexico. More details are given in chapter five. 8. Ley General del Equilibrio Ecologico y la Proteccion al Ambiente - L G E E P A (General Law on Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection): This Law was recently amended (1996) in order to clear ambiguities and strengthen the legal framework for environmental protection in Mexico. 9. Ley General de Cooperativas (Co-operatives General Law): Gave me information on how the co-operatives are supposed to be managed, how are their leaders elected, and how problems are to be solved. It was a very useful background document for this specific study because shrimp fishery in EGSC is mostly organised in co-operatives, so it was important for me to understand how they are supposed to be managed, and then compare to how they are managed in the community. 10. Ley de Pesca (Legal Framework for Fisheries 1992): The Fisheries Law is the legal and regulatory framework for fishing activities in Mexico. It is divided into five chapters: a) General Provisions, b) Licenses, Concessions, and Authorisations, c) Research and Training, d) Inspection, Infringements and Sanctions, and e) Administrative Appeals. Reviewing the Fisheries Law gave me information on how the fisheries management in EGSC is different to what the theory says it should be, and what modifications have the authorities in the community made in order to continue working in a harmonic way with fishers. By comparing theory with practice it also allowed me to get a sense of why some of the policies in place may not be the appropriate ones in the particular circumstances of EGSC (reasons that might also be applicable to other small fishing communities, but that requires a separate study). 32 CHAPTER FIVE CASE STUDY: EL GOLFO DE SANTA CLARA, SONORA, MEXICO 5.1. INTRODUCTION The Gulf of California is an enclosed sea located between the Baja California peninsula and mainland Mexico. It includes, partially or totally, the coastline of four Mexican States: Sinaloa and Sonora, in the mainland, and Baja California and Baja California Sur, in the peninsula (Figure 5.1). Brown et al (1991) estimated that the productivity of the Gulf of California is two to three times that found in the open Atlantic or Pacific Oceans at similar latitudes. It is considered to be the most important source of marine resources in Mexico with more than 50% of the shrimp annual catches made in this area. In 1995 Mexico's marine production was 1.4 million tonnes, with an approximate value of $3,500 million pesos (US$350 million) and almost 50% of the landings were made in the Gulf of California (Cisneros 1997). The area known as the Upper Gulf of California includes part of the coastline of the States of Baja California and Sonora, and it is considered to be one of the richest coastal ecosystems in the world because of both its high productivity and its great biological diversity (SEMARNAP 1995). Three main communities are considered to be part of the Upper Gulf of California: Puerto Penasco and El Golfo de Santa Clara (EGSC) in Sonora, and San Felipe, in Baja California. In terms of Institutions and economic structures San Felipe is the most developed, followed by Puerto Penasco and finally by El Golfo de Santa Clara.. Puerto Penasco is the largest community and it relies on commerce, fishing and tourism as economic activities and its occupational structure is distributed as follows: 30.8% commerce, 34.7% fishing, 11.2% tourism, 6.2% agriculture, and 17% government. San Felipe is the oldest of the three communities and its occupational structure is distributed as 35% in commerce (commercial and service occupations and activities are closely linked to tourism), 30% in fishing, 20% in other services, and 10% in government. El Golfo de Santa Clara is almost 100% dependent on fishing to sustain its economy with only a small additional contribution from tourism. Some fishery products are 33 consumed domestically but most go into the external marine products market (Greenberg and Velez-Ibaftez 1993). The shrimp fishery in EGSC was the case study for my research. This chapter will begin with a brief description of the historical development of the community of EGSC and will then describe the present situation, including an introduction to the Biosphere Reserve of the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta, which was recently created. Fig. 5.1. The Gulf of California is surrounded by the States of: Baja California Norte (BCN) [#1] Baja California Sur (BCS) [#2] Sonora [#3] Sinaloa [#8] BCN 5.2. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMMUNITY The community of EGSC began as a fishing camp in the 1920's. The first fishers came from the South of Sonora and Sinaloa following the totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), a croacker that can reach sizes of up to 6 feet and 300 pounds (2 m and 140 kg) (McGuire and Valdez-3 4 Gardea 1997). The air bladder of the totoaba was in high demand in the Oriental market, where it was used to prepare soup. As there was no established market for the totoaba meat, the rest of the body was either used for domestic consumption or thrown away. Over-fishing led to a decline of totoaba in the fishers' native regions so they moved North in search of more fish (Cudney and Turk 1998, Greenberg and McGuire 1993, and McGuire and Valdez-Gardea 1997). Along with the totoaba fishery, a shark fishery (of varied species) developed mainly for the fins and liver. The liver was an important source of vitamin A, while the fins were used for the preparation of shark-fin soup, an oriental delicacy (Cudney and Turk 1998). At that time, the fishing was done in small canoes with hook and line and nets were not used. One of the community members I interviewed has lived in EGSC for 66 years. He comments on this fishery as follows: "I arrived here in 1933, from Guaymas. M y dad brought me here when he came to fish totoaba, he also fished shark and curvina. I have fished all my life. When I arrived here there were only two houses in town: my grandma's and a house of a comadre (close friend) of hers. Fishing was not a tough job, you get used to it, you get used. Now fishers don't do anything. We used to go out in canoes and just row and row until you saw the fishes. The oars were about 14 ft long. Buyers from outside town used to come, but it was very difficult because there were no roads. It would take them sometimes up to 10 days to get here. They were the ones that would bring us food and things like that. Later on a small store opened and that made things easier. I used to like more fishing at that time because everything was made with piola (a fishing line) and we sometimes would catch big 80 kg totoabas" (Participant # 17) This quote of one of the first inhabitants of the community (we could say that his family was part of the founders) shows that he feels the fishery in the past was easier in terms of abundance, but perhaps harder in terms of technology. He did not complain but he talked about how he thinks fishers now have it "easier" because they don't have to use a lot of physical work (which for me is a surprising comment given that I still think fishing is a labour intensive activity, especially the small-scale fishery). The community started from nothing, nobody used to live in that specific area, and the only reason why people settled there was because the fishing activities were productive, although, as he mentions, given the distance between the community and other populated areas, and the hard access conditions, the buyers did not visit the town often. 35 The species targeted for the fishery have been changing through time. The shark fishery came to an end at the beginning of the 1950's mainly because a laboratory technique for synthesising vitamin A had been found. At this time, fishers in EGSC also switched from totoaba to shrimp, a fishery that became important not only in economic terms, but also in socio-political terms. The shrimp fishery stimulated the concept of the co-operative organisation (cooperativismo) in the Gulf. In 1945, a group of fishers in EGSC organised the first co-operative in the community for shrimp fishing and marketing. This co-operative received federal recognition in 1953. The co-operative is still running and, even though in the off-season for shrimp they market finfish (especially curvina), its main reason for existence continues to be shrimp. At the present time, most fishing organisations of the region are established for shrimp fishing and marketing (Cudney and Turk 1998), even though most of them also produce and market finfish. Cudney and Turk (1998) believe that during the 70's, shrimp became the principal fishery mainly because its price increased considerably. Development of other fisheries, such as shark and manta continued during the 1970's, although at a much slower rate than previously. The first attempt to stop over-fishing of totoaba was made in 1955, when a sanctuary was established in the mouth of the Colorado River, where it spawns. The sanctuary was not a sufficient measure to halt the decline of the species and in the 1970's it was still being caught in the Upper Gulf of California and thus the stocks continued to decline. By 1975 the stock was so low that the government declared a total closure for this fishery. This measure hastened the transformation of the fishery of EGSC: totoaba was almost abandoned (sanctions for catching totoaba are some of the toughest in the region) and shrimp became the main species caught. In the late 80's and early 90's shrimp catches declined in the Upper Gulf of California and this had a devastating effect on the economy of its communities. Of The three communities of the Upper Gulf, El Golfo de Santa Clara (EGSC), because of its almost complete dependence on the fishery, suffered most from the crisis. As Greenberg et al. (1993 p. 20) state "In fact, of the three communities, because of its almost total dependence on marine exploitation, it (EGSC) is the one at greatest economic risk. As a community, El Golfo de Santa Clara remains highly dependent on fishing as a source of income for individuals, but the scarcity of product and the decline in tourism has placed the community in the most dire of economic circumstances". 36 According to McGuire (1993), several factors contributed to the crisis: 1) In the 1970's there was a significant increase in the number of shrimp trawlers throughout the Gulf and Pacific coasts; 2) By the end of the 1980's many co-operatives were experiencing economic problems and were about to go bankrupt; and 3) The shrimp stock itself had collapsed. The phenomenon known as El Nino as well as the reduction in the flow of the Colorado river into the Gulf are considered by many fishers to be other important factors contributing to the reduction on shrimp catches in EGSC. As it was put by one fisher: "I remember that long time ago, when the river had lots of water there were always lots of fish and shrimp right here, in the shore. You could see them. But every year that the gringos1 stop the flow or that very little water is let to run we end up getting bad seasons. Sometimes we don't even get half of what we normally catch" (Participant # 16). Although the collapse of the shrimp fishery was devastating for the economy of EGSC, the community was able to buffer the crisis in part because of the structure of its fishery. The fishing fleet of EGSC is mainly composed of small boats (called pangas), which gave the community some resilience that fishers from San Felipe and Puerto Penasco did not have. Compared to the larger boats the panga requires a small economic investment both initially and for maintenance, and can easily be switched from one type of fishery to another. When the shrimp collapsed, fishers in EGSC switched to fishing for chano (Micropogonias megalops), an endemic croaker that was being exported to the oriental market where it is used to make a fish paste called surimi. McGuire and Valdez-Gardea (1997) referred to this switching between fisheries as a form of "adaptive behaviour". Although the chano provided an alternative source of income for EGSC fishers it was not a perfect solution. The price paid for chano is one tenth the price paid for shrimp. Furthermore, chano has a razor-sharp spine that damages the nets, which have to be replaced more often and therefore more money has to be invested in gear every season. However, chano was not the only alternative species that helped sustain the economy of the community during the decline in shrimp. The curvina (Cynoscion othonopterus), a species that had apparently stopped migrating in big schools to the region for some 20 to 30 years (Cudney and Turk 1998) reappeared again in 1993 and by 1994 had become the second most ' Gringo: A word commonly used in Mexico when referring to people from the United States. It is not a derogatory term, just a slang word for "North American". 37 important species caught in the community. The curvina has become very important in the economic and social life of the community and will be discussed in more detail in section 5.4. Table 5.1 shows the historical development of fisheries in the Upper Gulf of California starting in the 1920's with the totoaba fishery and eventually being replaced mainly by shrimp fishery but also supported by chano, mackerel, shellfish and crab fisheries. Chano, as it was mentioned earlier, was an important fishery in EGSC in the early 1990's but now it is not that relevant for the economic life of the community, and the same is true of mackerel. Shellfish fishery, especially clam fishery, is mostly done for domestic consumption and there is no formal marketing system for this product although it is common to find fishers trying to sell their daily catch in EGSC or even in San Luis Rio Colorado and other adjacent communities. Table 5.1. Historical Development of fisheries in the Upper Gulf of California D A T E M A I N SPECIES S E C O N D A R Y SPECIES OTHER SPECIES 1920's-1940's Totoaba Shark Not known 1940's-1950's Shrimp, totoaba Shark, manta Not known 1950's-1970's Shrimp Totoaba Not known 1980's-1990's Shrimp Chano (early '90s) Mackerel, shellfish 1993-Present Shrimp Curvina Chano, mackerel, shellfish, crab 5.3. EGSC IN THE 1990'S EGSC has a reported population of approximately 1,830 people of which 51.3% are men and 48.7 % are women. An estimated 63.5 % of the population is older than 15 years of age and 91 % of the population six years and older can read and write (Harrison, assistant to the Minister of Planning, Development and Public Expenditure, Government of Sonora, pers. comm.). Greenberg et al. (1993) report that 76% of the working population of EGSC is engaged in fishing activities while the rest are employed in services and commerce. A very small number of people are employed in aquaculture. 38 According to the 1995 National Census, the community includes 421 houses. Of these, 400 have electricity, and 399 have piped water but only 50 have sewage facilities (Harrison, personal communication). There were no phone lines in the community until 1998. During the fishing season a large number of transient workers comes to EGSC to participate in the fishery. Authorities estimate that during the shrimp and curvina seasons the population rises to between 2,300 and 2,500 people, which suggests a transient work force of between 500 and 700 people. Most of the people who arrive in EGSC looking for work come from a region of Mexico known as "El Bajio" (See Fig. 5.1), specifically from the State of Guanajutao (Greenberg and McGuire 1993). They come to EGSC because they "hear" that panga owners in EGSC need people to help them in the fishery. These people later pass the message about work in EGSC on to their relatives and/or friends so that little by little the number of transient workers grows. They leave their homes in El Bajio because they do not have a job, or because their actual job does not pay enough to fulfil their economic needs. In EGSC they are the poorest sector of the community (McGuire and Greenberg 1993), but they say they are still better off than in their homeland. There is another group of people that does not live in the community during the whole year but that is considered as part of the fishing group in EGSC. They have been working in the shrimp fishery for 10 to 15 years, yet the rest of the year they live in a different community such as the municipality of San Luis Rio Colorado or some of the ejidos1 surrounding that area. Many of these people are usually related to fishers in EGSC and go to work in the family's boats. However, sometimes fishers bring their own pangas and are allowed to "camp" either in EGSC or in one of the fishing areas adjacent to the community. 5.3.1. Education In EGSC there is one school that offers education from the level of kindergarten to grade 9. The nearest schools offering higher grades are in San Luis Rio Colorado (2-3 hr by bus) and 2 Ejidos: Mexican legislation does not define what an ejido is, but their main characteristic is that it is a product of a legal process called dotation (endowment) where the lands are received by a population nucleus. At its origin, there is no purchase: the lands are obtained for free and they derive from expropriated haciendas, state lands, and so on (Bartra, 1992) 39 Mexicali (3-4 hr by bus). Young people wishing to continue their education have to move to one of these towns but few continue beyond grade 9. According to my observations in the community and by informal talks with both children and adults, there seems to be an informal system of education in the community that is taught by the family. It does not include the typical subjects that are taught in the classroom such as mathematics, social and natural sciences, etc. The informal system consists of letting the boys learn how the fishing activities are conducted. They learn how to drive the panga, when to throw the lines, when to go back to shore because of bad weather, how to "read" the surface of the water (in order to get an idea of where fish are), etc. These teachings are not given in a period of one, two or three years, but they are constantly being taught. They start when the youths are about 12 or 13 years old and become more intense around the late teens. For girls the education consists mainly in learning how to take care of a house: cooking, helping to clean the fish caught, sawing, take care of babies, and so on. When I was speaking with the woman in the community they seem to put much more emphasis on learning these chores than on what the formal school teaches. This has been noticed also by some of the women that came from outside the community. 5.3.2. Medical Services There is a centre for medical services in the community run by the State of Sonora and there is a General Physician delegated to the centre that attends emergencies in town. However, since there is little medical equipment in town and what is available is in a precarious state, most people in need of medical attention go to the Seguro Social, which is the body of government in charge of health care and it is located in the municipality of San Luis Rio Colorado. 5.4. THE FISHING ACTIVITIES 5.4.1. Shrimp Biology Shrimp harvested in EGSC belong to the family Penaeidae. This family includes eight species (Table 4.2), two of which are the most important in the community's fishery because of their economic value: Penaeus stylirostris (blue shrimp) and Penaeus californiensis (brown shrimp). These species are distributed along coastlines in waters from a few cm to up to 10 brazas (about 18 m) depth (Ruiz-Dura 1978). Penaeus vannamei and Penaeus brevirostris are 40 rarely caught in the Upper Gulf; their distribution is more to the South of the Gulf of California, where they provide an important fishery for the South of Sonora and the states of Sinaloa and Jalisco. Table 5.2. Species included in the Penaeidae family (Penaeus sp.) SCIENTIFIC N A M E C O M M O N N A M E 1. P. stylirostris Blue shrimp 2. P. californiensis Brown shrimp 3. P. vannamei White shrimp 4. P. brevirostris Crystal or pink shrimp 5. P. aztecus Brown shrimp 6. P. setiferus White, grey or green shrimp 7. P. duorarum Pink shrimp 8. P. brasiliensis Pink, yellow, or Caribbean shrimp * Species 1-4 are abundant in the Pacific coast. Species 5-8 are abundant in the Gulf of Mexico and in very small proportions in Mexico's Pacific waters; they are not part of the fishery in EGSC. P. stylirostris (blue shrimp) has well defined migration patterns: it spawns in marine waters between the months of March and September, with a maximum during May and June. The larvae go through their early development in marine waters but as post-larvae migrate to estuaries and lagoons where they grow to maturity. They then return to marine waters where they become mature and spawn. Fishers take advantage of this behaviour to capture the maturing shrimp migrating to the ocean (Vidal-Talamantes 1988). P. californiensis by contrast, is a marine organism during all its life and lives in sandy bottoms with depths ranging mainly between 20 and 50 brazas (36-90 m) (Ruiz-Dura 1978). 5.4.2. "Shrimping" EGSC's local federal government officials describe fishers as belonging to two major groups: operarios (operative group) and apoyo (support group). The fishers that go in the boats, the hands-on fishers, are the operarios and number between 400 and 600 people. The apoyo (also locally known as "dry butts" because they do not go into the water) includes boat owners and people working on maintenance of fishing equipment, dragging boats in and out of the water, and helping to unload and clean the product. There are some 200 apoyo fishers. 41 Many fishers, on the other hand, do not classify themselves as operarios or apoyo. For them, people who go out in the boats are fishers whereas those who do not go out do not have a generic name but are not fishers. As one of the participants said: "There are no fishers out of the water" (Participant #1) As I noted earlier, the fishery in EGSC is conducted from pangas, 4-5 m open skiffs which have 55-75 hp outboard engines and carry two to three people on board: captain, marinero (sailor) and sometimes a pavo (turkey). The captain carries the most responsibility in the boat; he makes all the fishing decisions and chooses the crew. Marineros are usually younger fishers that have had some experience but are still in the process of learning from the captain. Pavos are usually kids that have just finished school and are being initiated into the fishing activities (McGuire and Greenberg 1993). Although I have seen three women participating in the fishery for a brief period in the past, currently there are no women fishers. The equipment used in the fishery varies with the species targeted but it can be divided into two categories: chinchorro (drift-gillnet) and cimbra (fishing line with hanging hooks). The gear used in the shrimp fishery is chinchorro (Fig. 4.3.), which is made of 0.35 and 0.37 lbs. nylon mono-filament, with a mesh opening ranging of 6.35 or 8 cm (2.5 or 2.75 inches) (Cudney and Turk 1998). A fisher describes the use of chinchorro: "The gear we use is very efficient when used in tidal movements. When you throw the net it expands and even when it has weights in the bottom it doesn't sink because of the buoys. When the tide is coming up or coming down it drags the net and, since shrimp swim against the current, they ran into it and grab it: they close themselves getting trapped. Once a shrimp feels something and closes, it won't let go. Our gear is very selective also because the opening of the mesh is big so then it does not catch the small shrimps; it is better for us because Ocean Garden pays more for the big shrimp" (Participant # 14) As the fisher explained above, gillnets used for shrimp fishery are drift nets that perform well with the Gulfs tidal currents. Shrimp is fished from early morning to late evening3, especially during the month's mareas vivas (tides occurring in the full and new moons; mareas 42 muertas -dead tides- occur in the moon's quarters) and both the ebb and flood of the tide. The nets are left in the water for 30-90 minutes before being lifted. Lifting and cleaning them takes 15 to 30 minutes depending on how much shrimp is being caught and how much untargeted material gets in the net (sponges, twigs, other crustaceans, and fishes). The action of throwing the net, waiting for the species to get entangled and picking up the net is known as lance. Cudney and Turk (1998) report trips during which fishers made up to 15 lances in the same day but the usual numbers are between 4 and 7 lances per day. During the late 1980's there was a strong decline on shrimp catches (Table 5.3): from 193,958 kg it went down to 10,803 kg, and in 1991 and 1992 the catches were so low that they were not registered by the Fisheries Office. In 1993 and 1994 catches started improving and by 1997 it was again similar to that of the late 1980's. Fig. 5.2. Scheme of a Chinchorro Buoys 3 1 participated in some of the shrimp trips leaving around 7:00 am and returning around 7:30 P M . 43 5.4.3. Curvina Fishery Curvina (also known as "Mexican giant bass"), although not as profitable as shrimp, has become an important income source for people in EGSC. In 1993 the Colorado River and its major tributary, the Gila, flooded for the first time in a decade and fishers comment that is why shrimp catches increased and curvina returned in large numbers after an exile of almost 40 years. Since 1993 the amount of curvina caught has increased notably. Table 5.3. 1987-1998 Curvina and shrimp landings in EGSC (kg) Y E A R C U R V I N A SHRIMP (KG) (KG) 1987 72 280,592 1988 1,667 295,067 1989 2,090 193,958 1990 1,078 10,803 1991 936 N R 1992 3,875 N R 1993 31,661 3,162 1994 177,033 11,317 1995 561,318 132,280 1996 1,278,201 155,115 1997 2,158,603 232,760 1998 2,538,747 221,000 Information provided by the fisheries office in El Golfo de Santa Clara, Son. T h i s number shows only the product landed from January 1st to June 30th, 1998. Most of the catches are made from September to December. The biology of the curvina is not fully understood, but it is known to go up to the Colorado River delta to spawn between the months of March and May, which are also the times of the major fishing effort. This is because in the narrow delta it is easy for fishers to catch the fish on their run up or down. 44 The present status of the fishery is unknown and there are no regulations for it, although there have been agreements among the community's fishers to establish informal regulations (Roman 1999). Fishers interviewed had different views about the future of this fishery: "Not long ago they (US government) let some water fall in the Upper Gulf (meaning hat there was a release of water to the area) and the curvina came back. I don't think it is here to stay, but whenever it leaves it won't go away for so long like the last time. It has been coming back every year since then. Maybe if they (US government) continued releasing more water it would stay longer" (Participant # 17). "There is such a mess for the curvina fishery that just as it came back it is going to disappear. There is many pangas fishing without licenses and there is lack of monitoring. Just to give you an idea, almost 50% of the pangas that go out in the curvina fishery do not have a license, and they are there getting the fish. There is no law! There is not a law that says: lets do this and that so those people don't go out and fish" (Participant # 6). Curvina has played an important role in EGSC not only because it has provided an additional source of fishing income but also because it has reduced the fishing effort on shrimp. Curvina starts appearing as early as February. Since by this time shrimp is not as abundant as in the previous months, fishers quit the shrimp fishery early to get their nets ready for curvina fishing. Some fishers state that they officially stop shrimp fishing during the last week of December and start preparing and looking for curvina. 5.5. THE BIOSPHERE RESERVE OF THE UPPER GULF OF CALIFORNIA This section aims to provide an introduction to the Biosphere Reserve of the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta created in 1993, which includes the community of El Golfo de Santa Clara. The Biosphere Reserve is important to this study because it has had some influence in the dynamic of the fishing activities and the governance arrangements in the community. 5.5.1. What is the Biosphere Reserve? A Biosphere Reserve is a mechanism to protect natural and cultural resources established under the National Protected Areas Program (SINAP) of SEMARNAP and managed by the National Institute of Ecology (Cudney and Turk 1998). The objectives of a biosphere reserve are 45 "to conserve bio-geographical areas representative and relevant at the national level, of one or more ecosystems not altered significantly and, at least, a zone not altered at all, where endemic, threatened or endangered species exist" (INEGI 1998, p. 199). On June 10th, 1993, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Mexico's President at the time, decreed a 934,756 hectare Biosphere Reserve for the Upper Gulf of California and delta of the Colorado River (Fig. 4.2). The specific objectives of the Reserve were: 1) to conserve the ecosystems of the Sonoran Desert, the Upper Gulf of California, and the Delta of the Colorado River; 2) to give permanent protection to unique species (totoaba, vaquita, the desert pupfish, and various birds); 3) to regulate the productive activities in order to protect the natural resources; 4) to promote alternative economic activities to increase the quality of life of resident peoples; 5) to conduct research and environmental education in the region and, 6) to recuperate and preserve the flora, fauna, and the environmental quality (Diario Oficial 1993). The Biosphere Reserve was created not only for the purposes of conservation but also as proof of Mexico's willingness to respond to international calls for environmental consciousness. This response helped pushing ratification of the NAFTA Treaty in the US Congress reducing the concerns of the environmental lobbying groups, which were jeopardising the ratification of the Treaty. The Reserve has two management zones: nucleus and buffer. The nucleus zone is an area in which the objective is to prevent any further environmental degradation and restore areas that have been degraded. Fishing is not legally permitted here. The buffer zone is the area around the nucleus zone where the objective is to seek a balance between natural processes and human activities (INEGI 1998). Eight communities are included in the area of the Biosphere Reserve, of which the most important is El Golfo de Santa Clara, accounting for 75% of the population living within the Biosphere Reserve (SEMARNAP 1995). The community of EGSC is located on the boundary between the buffer and nucleus zones and fishing activities of the community have always extended over the whole area, nucleus zone included. 5.5.2. Effects of the Biosphere Reserve in the community of EGSC There is not a detailed study of how the Biosphere Reserve has affected the community of EGSC. However, when the Biosphere was created and was a contentious issue I was 46 participating as a field assistant in a project that was closely related to the establishment of the Reserve. At that time, I learned about the views and positions of members of EGSC on the Reserve. I will use this previous experience coupled with the results of my recent interviews and observations in EGSC to give an account on how fishers felt about the reserve at the time it was created and what their views were at the time of the interviews, five years later. When first established, the Biosphere Reserve was not well understood by fishers of the community of EGSC. They knew it was going to be decreed, but they did not know how it was going to function. In 1993 fishers were asking for help because they thought the establishment of the Reserve meant they would not be able to fish anymore. In that year I was part of a group of students that went to the community to work in a project. I noticed that even when the government made an effort in trying to reach some people from each community to explain what was going to happen when the reserve was established, they used a very species-oriented approach. They were explaining fishers the need to protect the vaquita and totoaba from the use of gillnets, but they neglected to tell fishers how this measure was going to benefit them. Since the social factor was not included in the justifications, fishers told us that they felt pushed aside and resentment grew not only against the government but also against the species to be protected. At the time fishers were condemning the existence of such animals and saying that if they were to catch any vaquitas they were not going to take them to the officials, as it had been done previously for research purposes. They thought the endangered species would be responsible for closing fisheries in their community. During the intervening five years between my first visits to the community and the time I was there collecting data for the present thesis, some changes occurred. The large-scale shrimp fleet of EGSC4, which was comprised of 6 vessels in 1993, was eliminated by 1997 for various reasons. In part this was because its fishing territory became part of the nucleus zone where no 4 For " large-scale fleet of E G S C " should be understood the fleet comprised of shrimp trawlers, which are large boats that use the trawling system to catch shrimp, and which were owned by fishers from the community. The large-scale boats usually fish in deeper waters than the ones used by the small-scale fleet. In subsequent chapters there will be reference to trawlers or large-scale fleets but those refer to the trawlers F R O M other communities, not from EGSC (i.e. from Puerto Penasco, Guaymas, Mazatlan, etc.); all the trawlers in EGSC went out of business by 1997. 47 trawling was to be done. Mainly, however, it was because the co-operative that owned the fleet was indebted and could not pay back its loans5. The fishers' fears about the Biosphere Reserve evaporated when they started to be accounted as part of the Reserve's capital and were consulted by the government officials on different issues. In a survey made by Cudney and Turk (1998) it was found that fishers in the Upper Gulf think the Biosphere Reserve has not affected them negatively or positively, but they think that as time goes by the reserve will help to preserve the fishing resources. However, most participants in the study conditioned their response to effective enforcement of regulations and monitoring of the resources. Although their initial concern that creation of the reserve would prohibit them from fishing has disappeared, fishers are still not satisfied with their participation in the decision-making processes for the Biosphere Reserve. They feel they are not given their real value as stakeholders in the Reserve, but they have decided to play it as a political card from now on. As one fisher put it: "Last Holy Week6 we ran into a bunch of pangas that were fishing in the nucleus zone. We were so mad! Everybody goes fishing and we, the fools living in the Reserve, are stupidly following the laws, not fishing in the nucleus area, and so on. That is not going to last anymore, because we are part of the reserve, and we should come first than anyone else" (Participant # 7). During my fieldtrips to EGSC in 1998 and 1999 I found greater awareness about how the reserve works and the role the community plays on it. There is one person in charge of the Biosphere Reserve Office permanently living in the community, and this has helped a lot with communication about the reserve and the increase in community awareness. But the presence of this official has also led to some confusion of authority in the minds of the fishers. This confusion will be addressed in chapter VI. It can be concluded that the community members of EGSC, despite their negative first impressions about how the Reserve was going to effect fisheries, are getting used to being a part 5 For more information see A. Ibarra, C. Reid and A . Thorpe. 1998. "Neo-liberalism and the Latin 'Blue Revolution': fisheries development in Chile, Mexico and Peru. Res. pap. no. 139. Centre for the Economics and Management of Aquatic Resources (CEMARE). University of Portsmouth, U K . 48 trawling was to be done. Mainly, however, it was because the co-operative that owned the fleet was indebted and could not pay back its loans5. The fishers' fears about the Biosphere Reserve evaporated when they started to be accounted as part of the Reserve's capital and were consulted by the government officials on different issues. In a survey made by Cudney and Turk (1998) it was found that fishers in the Upper Gulf think the Biosphere Reserve has not affected them negatively or positively, but they think that as time goes by the reserve will help to preserve the fishing resources. However, most participants in the study conditioned their response to effective enforcement of regulations and monitoring of the resources. Although their initial concern that creation of the reserve would prohibit them from fishing has disappeared, fishers are still not satisfied with their participation in the decision-making processes for the Biosphere Reserve. They feel they are not given their real value as stakeholders in the Reserve, but they have decided to play it as a political card from now on. As one fisher put it: "Last Holy Week? we ran into a bunch of pangas that were fishing in the nucleus zone. We were so mad! Everybody goes fishing and we, the fools living in the Reserve, are stupidly following the laws, not fishing in the nucleus area, and so on. That is not going to last anymore, because we are part of the reserve, and we should come first than anyone else" (Participant # 7). During my fieldtrips to EGSC in 1998 and 1999 I found greater awareness about how the reserve works and the role the community plays on it. There is one person in charge of the Biosphere Reserve Office permanently living in the community, and this has helped a lot with communication about the reserve and the increase in community awareness. But the presence of this official has also led to some confusion of authority in the minds of the fishers. This confusion will be addressed in chapter VI. It can be concluded that the community members of EGSC, despite their negative first impressions about how the Reserve was going to effect fisheries, are getting used to being a part 5 For more information see A . Ibarra, C. Reid and A . Thorpe. 1998. "Neo-liberalism and the Latin 'Blue Revolution': fisheries development in Chile, Mexico and Peru. Res. pap. no. 139. Centre for the Economics and Management of Aquatic Resources (CEMARE) . University of Portsmouth, U K . • 6 Holy Week: The week before Easter week. It is mandatory for Catholics to avoid eating red meats during the last days of this week. Fish is highly demanded during this time. 48 of the reserve and are learning how to cope with it. Fishers are even trying to benefit from the establishment of the reserve by making themselves seem more vulnerable to enforcement rules and to suffer more serious harm when other do not respect the protected area, because of their location so close to the nucleus zone. One of the fishers who is considered among the most "political" figures in the community has been involved in most of the meetings related to the creation of the Reserve, and I see him like the "evolution" measurement of the acceptance of the Reserve in the community. When I first visited the community a few years ago he was one of the most upset fishers because of the creation of the Reserve. He did not like the idea that the Reserve was so close to the community and that they were being told where to fish and were not to fish when they have been doing it freely for so many years. Five years later, while interviewing him in 1998 he shows a totally different attitude towards the Reserve. He mentioned that he (and the people of the co-operative where he is a Treasurer) sees the Reserve as an opportunity to "play weak" and make sure that whenever opportunity arises they can be heard about how vulnerable they (fishers from EGSC) are to the success of the reserve as well as to the management measures. I think both points are very well thought because with the first one, the vulnerability of the Reserve's success, they are trying to demonstrate that they care about the resource and therefore they are willing to commit to a sacrifice (restricting their fishing activities to the non-nucleus zones). With the second statement they are making sure that other players and stakeholders involved in the Reserve management know that fishers in EGSC have to be considered all the time when talking about this protected area, because they are part of it and therefore will be the most affected by the management measures. This seems to be working for the fishers' benefit: it has increased their participation because now the government and other players involved in the Reserve management usually try to have a representative of the community of EGSC. The community is even beginning to feel somewhat privileged for being part of the Reserve. They now think that Reserve's are special areas and that there are many advantages of "sympathising" with the creation and management of a reserve. But what do fishers from a different co-operative think? I spoke about the Reserve with most of the participants in the interviews, and even when many were sceptical about the usefulness of the Reserve, all of them responded that there have not been "damages" as a result of its creation. Nothing as bad as they expected it to be. This is certainly a different attitude than that one I saw during my previous visits to the community. 49 C H A P T E R SIX F O R M A L AND I N F O R M A L FISHING A R R A N G E M E N T S IN E L G O L F O D E SANTA C L A R A Social institutions, as defined by Charles A. Ellwood (quoted in Young 1966, p. 506), are "simply social habits which are systematised, instituted or established by groups, and have stronger sanctions attached to them than do simple customs. They carry a step further the establishment of the social habit through the exercise of authority or compulsion on the part of a group". Burgess (1929) identified four major types of institutions: 1) basic cultural institutions (family, church, school); 2) economic institutions (labour, unions, real estate boards); 3) recreational institutions (athletic clubs, theatres, dance halls) and, 4) institutions of formal social control (government and social service agencies). Even when society and government formally recognise these institutions, there are others that, although not recognised, still exercise the same or more power than formal institutions. Such institutions should not be ignored or considered less relevant; they some times reflect the true beliefs of the members of a community, which could be more legitimate than a set of rules established by an outside authority. That is the reason why this section describes the formal and informal arrangements created for fisheries, or for other activities that directly affect fisheries, in the community of EGSC. It refers to their natural history, the dynamic nature of the institution exercising the power and the different arrangements made in the fishing activity. The objective of this chapter is to present a condensed description of the formal governance system and to explore the informal governance system in the community. 6.1. F O R M A L A R R A N G E M E N T S AND H O W T H E Y W O R K Shrimp fishery is one of the few fisheries for which the government has established a formal regulation. There are regulations on the gear to be used, season when the species can be caught, specific permits for the activity are required, and special marketing rules apply for this species. Both government officials and fishers develop the formal arrangements for fisheries in EGSC, although usually the main player here is the government or the stakeholder with more political/economical power. For example, if there is a conflict of interest between the large and 50 the small-scale fleet, it is most likely that the outcome of the conflict will be favourable to the large-scale fleet because they have more economic power and influences in the government system. 6.1.1. The government Mexico as a State Mexico is a republic made up of 31 states and a Federal District. In the Mexican Republic most political power is vested in the central government with state governments being relatively weak. The National Constitution of 1917 is the main document upon which modern Mexican legislation is based, and no state level responsibilities for fisheries are mentioned in it. Regarding the natural resources, its Article 27 states that: "Waters of the territorial seas, interior waters, lagoons, lakes and rivers are all property of the Nation" and that "The Nation has direct dominion over all the resources of the continental shelf and sea bottom around the islands" These statements mean that it is the Federation who holds power over all the waters in Mexico and over all the resources inside water bodies, therefore Federal Departments hold responsibility of all the fishing resources in Mexico. These because of national security reasons and because it is a resource that belongs to the Nation, which means that it belongs to all the Federal Entities (or states) in the same degree; there are not maritime divisions for the resource. For fisheries, the Legislature (Federal) passes laws that state what should be done; the Executive Power (bureaucracy) implements the laws, and the Judicial Power solves conflicts that arise and decides if the law was obeyed. The Federal Entities (or states) are, in theory, autonomous, and the Federation has a limited power that has to be explicitly indicated in the Constitution, thus it cannot delegate any issue to the State Entities. However, it is possible to establish co-operation agreements between the two powers. The headquarters of all Federal Ministries are located in Mexico City. E l Golfo de Santa Clara 51 There are governmental representatives of four Ministries' in EGSC: SEMARNAP, Communications and Transportation -SCT (Harbour Master), Marine -SM (a squad of navy officials on the community's coast), and National Defence -SEDENA (a group of soldiers at the entrance of town). Each Mexican State has a sub-delegation of SEMARNAP, which remains within federal government jurisdiction. This office is usually located in the capital of the state or in a strategic city such as that for which the natural resources are of ecological, economical or political importance. In the lower division of the state -the municipalities and agendas2- there could be none, or one, or more representatives of SEMARNAP or the decentralised agencies, depending on the needs and importance of the community. Where the State exercises power in relation to fisheries is in the management of species that show ecological stability and that are known not to cause extreme social or political disruptions and protests once the licenses are distributed. If it is a commercial species that causes some political or social disorder the federal government will manage it, as well as if it is a species that is in decline or in recovery (Participant # 26, Guaymas, Son., November 1998). That means that the State government exerts power only in non-problematic contexts. The Federal government will usually manage any problematic species. The Federal Departments of Marine (SM) and National Defence (SEDENA) work in a more independent way than the SEMARNAP and SCT because the latter have to interact in order to give the licenses and monitor the departure and arrival of pangas. However, there are not problems between these two Ministries (SCT and SEMARNAP) because the duties are clearly defined. The Harbour Master is in charge of reviewing that each boat complies with the safety rules required by law, of registering the boats, and he is also in charge of closing and opening the port due to different climate conditions. SEMARNAP, with its three representative in the community, has had some conflict co-ordinating their work in the different areas because the duties are varied and sometimes overlap each other. PROFEPA, LNE and the Fisheries Sub-secretariats have all, for example, monitoring activities and it is not well defined how one differs from the other one. The PROFEPA officer has to monitor that the Biosphere Reserve is being respected, but the INE representative also has to do the same thing. Moreover, the Fisheries 1 Mexico uses the term "Secretariat" which is the equivalent to a Canadian Ministry but it is different in that the Minister is not elected but appointed by the President. 52 representative has to monitor that fishers are not working in a closed area. Who has the more power in the community in this case? Usually the friendliest one; the one who gets along with them better. One of the informants commented that having so "many" federal representatives in the community ("many" compared to other times when the only federal authority present was the fisheries official) sometimes gets fishers confused because for them they all mean the same; they are all "government": "What has happened is that a lot of confusion came up as a result of the changes in the public administration. The Fisheries Ministry ceased being a Ministry and became a Sub-secretary, and a large Ministry for the environment, natural resources and fisheries was created. With these changes the fisheries office was affected. It was no longer the office of the Fisheries Ministry, but all the people had the idea that it was still a Ministry. And then PROFEPA, which is a decentralised agency of S E M A R N A P . And still more, add another agency, INE, which is the one administering the protected areas in Mexico. So, here in EGSC there was a convergence of the authority of these three institutions"... "People were badly confused, so we had to call for meetings to explain: look guys, the fisheries guy is in charge of this; PROFEPA looks at this other, and I do this. It seems that now they understand it a bit more" (Participant # 24). The PROFEPA representation has only been in EGSC since 1997 and the pattern has been that there is a new official arriving to the community each year. There are not enough resources to carry out their duties properly, for example, during my visit in 1998 the PROFEPA official did not have a boat, the car that was given to him was broken, and he did not receive money for gasoline. In other words, he did not have the working tools needed to do the proper monitoring and enforcement of the resource. This led to an arrangement with fishers to monitor the resources, but it will be detailed in section 5.2 on informal arrangements. The SEMARNAP officials are civil to each other but do not work as a team. When doing their job, their activities some times overlap each other's and this has been affecting their performance as well. This overlapping of activities has also led to a series of informal arrangements that will be discussed in the following section. 2 Agendas. The straight translation is "agencies" and it refers to communities that are not large enough to be considered a municipality. A "delegado" is the government representative of the agency, and he reports to the municipality. 53 The status of the fishing activities in the community is yet another overlapping example. The status is not clear because the law identifies the shrimp fishery activities as of riberena (inshore) and de altura (offshore), and there are different regulations for each type. Offshore means the activity takes place in open areas, is made in large vessels (trawlers), and starts and finishes the fishing season after the inshore sector. Inshore fleet usually goes to confined bodies of waters such as lagoons and estuaries, uses small boats for the activity, and it is the first one to open and close the shrimp season. The case of the Upper Gulf is very special because the boats used are those of the small-scale fishery, but the locations where fishers catch the product are all open areas. This situation has resulted in unconformity of both group of fishers, inshore and offshore, because the so called "inshore" fishers want the advantages pertaining to this group, but they still want to go fishing in offshore-considered areas. It has also resulted in misunderstandings among the SEMARNAP officials because they hold different views on how shrimp should be managed in this special region. However, despite the ongoing confusion and disagreement, the shrimp fishery fleet of EGSC has so far managed to be considered as part of the inshore sector. One of the most important regulations for the shrimp fishery is the fishing season. The Biosphere's Reserve Management Program (1995) states that the fishery for shrimp should not begin before September the 15th, and should not end later than February the 15th. Commercial fishery is only allowed in the buffer zone of the Biosphere Reserve. Still, since EGSC relies in fishing grounds that are part of the nucleus area they continue to use it. There is no direct size regulation for shrimp catch, but the gear has some regulations that do not allow very small specimens to be caught, and the commercial price helps regulating the size as well. The mesh size of the chinchorro should be no smaller than 6.35 cm, although its width and length are not regulated. Usually the calado or width of the net is between 70 and 100 mallas or meshes (considering that the mesh size is between 6.35 and 6.98 cm, it means that the equipment's width is between 5 and 7 m). Its length is between 150 and 600 brazas (270 and 1,080 m). Were the equipment longer or wider would require much more effort to be lifted and cleaned, and it would also get more damaged with the entangling and twisting of the net. The commercial prices are established according to the number of shrimp tails in a pound of product. For instance, U10 refers to a size of shrimp that, adding ten of them make a pound. U16, then, is a smaller size because sixteen shrimps are needed to make a pound of product. The prices are 54 not fixed for the whole season, but also vary with the demand and availability of the product. For instance, at the beginning of the season the price of a kilogram of medium-size shrimp was between $110 and $120 pesos (around 11.50 and 12.50 US). At the end of the season the same size of shrimp was being sold at $180 pesos (around 19.00 US). The motor power is regulated to be no more than 150 hp for security reasons3, and the most used are those between 55 and 75 hp to avoid spending excess gasoline. To end this section, it is worthwhile to comment that the legal framework for fisheries in Mexico lies primarily in the Fishing Law and the General Law of the Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (LGEEPA), as well as in the Normas Oficiales Mexicanas (Mexican Official Norm) that are created for different purposes such as conservation of an endangered species (Table 6.1). Some other laws apply such as the Organic Law of Public Administration and the Navigation Law. Table 6.1. Main Legal Frameworks for Fisheries. TITLE GENERALITIES Fisheries Law Passed on June 25 t h 1992 and enforced by the Federal Government (PROFEPA), it provides the legal framework for fisheries: regulates licenses, research and training, inspection, infringements and sanctions, and administrative appeals. General Law of the Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (LGEEPA) Law passed on December 13 t h 1996 and enforced by the Federal Government (PROFEPA). This Law provides the legal framework for the conservation and management of natural resources in Mexico. It has specific sections on: biodiversity, sustainable use of natural elements, environmental protection, social participation and environmental information, sanctions and security and control measures. It also includes the "environmental delinquencies" articles, which are part of the Mexican Penal Code but that are explicitly stated in the L G E E P A . 3 The Marines' boats have 300 hp motors to chase drug-dealers' boats, thus, it is not allowed that somebody else own a powerful motor. 55 6.1.2. The community Fishers in EGSC are organised in 14 co-operatives (Table. 6.2.), of which only 8 have shrimp fishery licenses; the rest of the co-operatives either have the licenses in process or have no license at all. The arrangement that allows fishers from the co-operatives without shrimp licenses to go out and fish is by becoming an attached fisher for one of the 8 co-operatives with permits, but this action will be discussed in the next section on informal management. Co-operatives in EGSC vary widely in the number of members they have, and is leaded by a board of directors. The Board is composed of the Administration President, Vigilance President (in charge of monitoring the behaviour of fishers and representing the co-operative in joint monitoring efforts of the resource), Treasurer, and Secretary and it changes every three years4 in a democratic assembly held in the co-operative. Table 6.2. Co-operatives registered in El Golfo de Santa Clara, Sonora. NAME NUM. MEMBERS SHRIMP LICENSE Brisamar 27 Yes Carranza 28 Yes Golfo de Santa Clara 28 Yes Las Salinas 24 Yes Ramatla 61 Yes Riberena Gonzalez 32 Yes Rio Colorado 47 Yes Tornillal 122 Yes Acuicola Morales 22 No Don Vicente 35 No Escamera Villegas 10 No Punta Machorro 22 No Riberena Sanchez 42 No Soberanes 19 No Most fishers interviewed did not know the fishing Law and were not interested in knowing it. According to them, the President of the co-operative is the one who has to know it 4 Greenberg et. al (1993) mention the Directory Board is elected every two years. However, when I interviewed some Administration Presidents from the cooperatives, they said their position end after a period of three years (depending on their performance: i f it is badly seen, it will last less than three years). 56 and then let the members know what they are allowed and hot allowed to do while fishing. As a fisher mentions: "It is not really a big deal i f you do not know the fishing law, because at the end the one held responsible i f something happens is the co-operative's President. They have to learn the law and then tell us if we are doing something wrong"... "hum...I guess i f I became President I would have to learn it. That is a requirement. If you are the President you need to know many things" (Participant # 12). The Presidents interviewed said they did not know the law before being elected but they had to learn it once they got to the position. They found it to be a rather tough job, but the hard part, they say, was trying to explain to members why it is important to follow the law: "I spent three years as the President and I do not think it is very difficult to be one. The difficulty comes when you have to manage people. The people you have to stand. Imagine that you are in a school and are dealing with children because many of them do not know a thing and they just keep the discussion going on stupidly. That is why it is difficult, dealing with people, know how to treat them and explain to them so they can understand things. I learned a few laws. Stumbling and falling down, but I did learn. I did not know the law before I became President" (Participant # 9). The fishing sector applies some forms of management such as that established by the government and the co-operatives. However, as it will be described in the next section, the management of the fishery has some informal arrangements for this purpose. 6.2. INFORMAL ARRANGEMENTS AND HOW THEY WORK Both, members of the community and authorities play part in the informal arrangements made for fisheries in EGSC. It is, to some extent, a form of co-management. Informal co-management involves shared fisher and government responsibilities for fisheries management but without a formal decision-making body or legal framework. It is guided by the interests and efforts of fishers and does not pretend to be oriented to the interests of all stakeholders (Sunderlin and Gorospe 1997). During the present study the informal arrangements identified fall into one or more of the following topics: fishing licenses, monitoring, and marketing of product. The arrangements come from modifications to the laws and rules established by the 57 government, and also by approaches taken by the actors in the absence of formal rules. The first part, "Despachos and Amparos", describes the arrangements related to fishing licenses, in which the government officials acknowledge and often take part. The second part, Black Market, presents the arrangements that, even when government officials know exists and have an idea of which fishers practice it, is not supported at all (at least openly) by them. The measures taken to avoid black marketing of shrimp are stricter than those taken for catching shrimp without a license and informally selling it to the co-operatives. The last part describes the informal arrangements developed for monitoring actions in the community 6.2.1. Despachos and Amparos The shrimp fishery license not only allows fishers to target shrimp, but also allows co-operatives to sell the shrimp legally. Co-operatives have to report the landed catches to the fisheries office, and when selling the product they should give a factum (a sort of receipt), which shows the amount of product being sold. The most important buyer of shrimp in EGSC, a state partly owned company called Ocean Garden, does not buy shrimp from co-operatives without licenses. Since Ocean Garden offers the best prices per kg of shrimp, it can be understood, then, why these licenses are the most precious thing to possess in EGSC. License limitation is the policy of the federal government but an exact ceiling on licenses has not been established for EGSC. Consequently, the awarding of licenses is subject to political manipulation. Furthermore, the license ceiling does not take into account the social and economic circumstances of the community, and so is a regulation difficult to implement in a socially just way. The conflict between government policy and the social and economic conditions in the community has led to the informal arrangements described below. Shrimp licenses are not available to all fishers given the limitation suggested by the National Fisheries Institute (INP) in order to protect the species, but every fisher has the right to apply for one, although this does not mean they will get it. A second permit required before going fishing is the "despacho", which is the license for the boat. The Communications and Transportation Ministry (SCT), through the Harbour Master, is in charge of giving the boats permits, and this is done after proper registration and inspection of the boats. All the boats in the community have despacho, even those that do not have a shrimp license. 58 The lack of shrimp fishery licenses has resulted in an informal permission to fish and sell the product: the "amparo". The amparo allows fishers whose license is being processed, to catch shrimp. Instead of selling the product directly to a legal buyer such as Ocean Garden, they deliver it to one of the co-operatives that have permits, and then it is sold through it. There are many fishers working under amparos. The action of the co-operatives buying the shrimp from fishers without a permit and then selling it to the legal buyers is called "enderezado" (shrimp straightening). The benefit for the co-operatives is the fee charged to straighten shrimp, which is very profitable and is estimated to be about $1.00 US/Kg. This is about 8-10% of the selling value of a kilogram of shrimp in the legal market. The authorities in town are aware of the shrimp catches made by fishers without licenses and of the straightening actions going on in the community. Rarely do they fine fishers for this reason. As one of the local federal officials said: "We have 14 groups of which only 8 have shrimp licenses. Some of them have already requested their licenses and are waiting for a response. Unfortunately they have not been stopped from fishing because the economic situation is bad and people from the 8 co-operatives that hold permits have asked us (the government) to let the rest of the people fish. Authorities have not acted (enforced the law) against people considered to have big necessities. It has only been acting against people alien to the region" (Participant # 23). It can be concluded, then, that most fishers in EGSC are allowed, either formally or informally, to catch and sell shrimp in the formal market. The despachos (the boat licenses) are not very difficult to obtain and this way most fishers have one, even if they do not have a license to catch shrimp. One of last year's strategies used by fishers to be able to catch shrimp was that, with the tacit support of some officials, leaders of a few co-operatives sent all their boats to fish without the license. Even if they possessed one they did not take it with them in the boat, they only took the boat licenses. This strategy allowed fishers that do not have fishing licenses to go out as well, making it difficult for the PROFEPA official to identify who was complying with the law and who was not. When asked about the reason why he did not fine people even when the law states that the crew should have the fishing license in the boat all the time, the PROFEPA official said that: 59 "What?! It was all of them! Nobody had a license in the boat. What was I supposed to do? Fine them all? No, I can't do that. Besides, another official had allowed them to do that, and I was not going to be the bad guy of the movie, and I tell you this also because every time I think of applying the law as it is I end up fining a really poor fisher. I do not know why this happens, but I feel bad" The objective of this strategy was to allow as many fishers as possible to go out for shrimp, which benefited both, licensed and unlicensed groups. The unlicensed groups obviously benefited because they were able to fish even without a permit, while the licensed groups loved the idea of straightening as much shrimp as possible because, as it was explained, they charge about 1 US/kg for doing it. This strategy was adopted at the beginning of the shrimp season, when government officials were being strict about the regulations. Usually as time goes by the enforcement becomes minimal. Later on an incident occurred that led to the loosening of regulations and the "sneaky" strategies were no longer necessary. Authorities in Mexico City were told that in the traditional large-catching areas in Northern Sinaloa and Southern Sonora shrimp did not show up that year. This led to an unofficial message from the central government authorities to the government officials (from all agencies) in the community to "leave fishers alone and do not stop them from fishing". The despacho strategy, then, was no longer necessary. These events show that what the central government cares more about is the social stability of the community or the fishing sector, than the conservation and appropriate management of the resource. As long as most of the people are happy and there is no major and obvious sign that the shrimp stock is in danger, the government will not try to stir up the situation by enforcing the official policy. Even some of the government officials sometimes are astonished at the position of the government. It is not because these officials are used to follow the law and policies by heart, but sometimes they just believe it is too lax and easygoing, as the PROFEPA official commented. The fishers' behaviour - and that of some government officials - suggests that they do not make any connection between the intensity of their fishing and the future abundance of shrimp. Fishers complain that there are many pangas working in the area, yet they don't let the officials fine those that are working without permits. They complain about fishers not following the laws/policies/regulations, yet they don't want it applied to everybody, only the people that they don't like. Sometimes they present a very strong sense of responsibility about how things should 60 be done, like when they are talking about the large-scale vessels fishing in the Reserve area, and other times they present a very socially-oriented approach where they want the law applied according to the needs of those who infringe it. In the community there are some people who think that as long as there is one couple of shrimps you will not run out of product. Fishers show concern about the abundance of the product and they don't like catching small shrimp or see somebody doing it because it affects their future catches, but since the product appears to be "renewed" every year, people think on that time-frame only. They get mad and complain with the fisheries officer, but later on they forget and let it go. The same type of inconsistent behaviour applies for the government officials. It seems that they are more focused on what the fisher thinks than on what the law says they should do. If a group of fishers think it is fine to do certain action such as allowing fishers without permit to go out and fish, the officer will do it. Government officials don't want to deal with community pressures, and this behaviour obviously puts environmental concerns and fisheries management objectives on a second place. Government officials may be able to speak about sustainability and care for the environment but at the end what counts is the pressures imposed by the community. They have not realised that the actions taken today will have an effect on tomorrow's fisheries. To my surprise even one of the officials from the Biosphere Reserve made the comment that shrimp is not going to collapse ever because they simply reproduce very easily and very rapidly. This type of comment does not help in promoting sustainable fisheries in the community. As it can be seen, both, government officials and fishers are involved in the informal arrangements for shrimp fishery in the community of EGSC. 6.2.2. Black Market and "Domestic Consumption" Shrimp The term "black market" refers to the informal selling of shrimp to individuals or groups of people that do not require a legal receipt. It is important to differentiate it from the "domestic consumption" product which, in theory, is destined to the family consumption, but that in EGSC is also the shrimp sold in the beach to other individuals. These informal sells are often registered in the fisheries office, while the shrimp destined to be black-marketed is never registered. The 61 basic difference between black market and domestic consumption shrimps is in the amounts of product sold. Usually, taking the shrimp home to eat is considered as "domestic consumption" and the law allows it. The fisheries official usually asks fishers for an estimate on how much they kept for this purpose, in order to keep the data recorded. When it is not kept for domestic consumption purposes, that is an offence. It is already a commercial action, and it is well known that many fishers do it and even the fisheries official asks them to provide an estimate of how much was sold aside, but he does not fine them. He wants to report more precise data. The amount of shrimp sold in the black market is not well known Shrimp can only be sold through the co-operatives; they are not supposed to sell it as individuals. The co-operative can sell the product to organisations other than Ocean Garden (OG) but this is not usually the case because OG is known to come up with the best price offer. The black market, then, begins when a fisher prefers to undersell the product than selling it to the co-operative. They will sell it outside, as individuals, and even when they sell it at a lower price there is a big advantage, which is keeping all the money for them. Black marketing is mainly done by people who owe money to the co-operative and who wants to avoid having to pay with part of their catch. There is not an estimated amount of how much of the shrimp is destined annually to the black market, but co-operative members participating in the interviews complained often that other members of the group sell much of their catch outside of the co-operative. The buyers are usually either tourists or small-business buyers that do not want large amounts of the product. I personally think that the black market is not that much in the community but obviously for such a small community it may be an important loss. Besides, there are not many other people to whom you can sell it without being noticed. The government has responded to the black marketing actions by establishing a group of soldiers at the exit of the community of EGSC with the stated purpose of stopping the drug traffic but also inhibiting the shrimp traffic. Besides the ocean, that is the only way to exit the community by more or less good roads, and all the vehicles are checked on the way out. During my stay in EGSC and through discussions with some other researchers, I never came across to information on soldiers intercepting shrimp smuggling. There are some stories in 62 town, but not enough information to make an estimate as to how much would this amount account for. 6.2.3. Monitoring Monitoring resources in EGSC has often been made in co-operation with the community even when the law states that the government should be in charge of it. Since the PROFEPA official does not have the resources required for monitoring and enforcing the law, each one of the co-operatives put money for buying gasoline, and if the official's car is not working they also provide a vehicle and personnel to go out and help him. The objective is to make sure that no fishery is going on while the shrimp season is closed and that during curvina season fishers from other communities are not intruding in the nucleus zone of the Biosphere Reserve. During the interviews most fishers said they were satisfied with the way the government monitored the fishery, and that they understood there was not a large budget destined to this purpose. At the same time some complaints were raised that, during the closure season, everything was fine but as soon as the season opens there are fishers abusing the resource. One of the fisheries officials was saying that fishers forget things as soon as the season is over, and every year the same problems appear. He says he sees it as a time tunnel where you go back to the same point where you started. When the season opens there is a rain of complaints on fishers doing this wrong, fishers having a different mesh size, fisher going to areas where they are not supposed to, fishers selling shrimp illegally, etc. As soon as the season is over the problems are left behind and fishers become quiet (except when somebody is fishing during the closure season, which is very obvious). These shared initiatives to monitor the resources are common in small fishing communities. In San Miguel Bay, Philippines, between 1970 and 1992 the laws against trawling were not enforced and when the government decided to take action it heavily depended on the community to identify trawling boats in the bay, as described Sunderlin and Gorospe (1997). During discussions with some people at the University (UBC) the question arose on whether or not government officials became indebted to fishers in EGSC because of the support given for monitoring purposes. I believe that it is not the case, officers do not become indebted because ultimately the benefit is for the fishers. The monitoring activities have always been shared between fishers and government, and it is sort of an understanding that fishers put the resource and the officials put the authority. However, these monitoring actions do serve for officials to get more involved with the community and get closer to the fishers, which sometimes 63 results in a relaxation of the fishing policies in order to help fishers. But I did not receive any comments by fishers saying that officers should be grateful for their help or anything like that. 64 CHAPTER SEVEN INTERVIEWS AND PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION After reviewing the formal and informal fishing arrangements taking place in EGSC this chapter presents the results of the interviews in the context of the five themes addressed: trust, knowledge of fishing-related policies, laws and/or regulations, communication, effectiveness of fishers as resource managers and effectiveness of government as resource manager. For better understanding the chapter is organised in two sub-sections: fishers' opinion, and government officials' opinion. The distribution of responses for each of the themes is presented in Annex III; and a detailed table of responses is presented in Annex IV. 7.1. FISHERS' OPINION The findings of the interviews with fishers show that in general they are satisfied with the present system of governance for the shrimp fishery. The major complaint against the government was that it allows the trawlers (large-scale fleet from outside the community) to fish in the Biosphere Reserve, and also -but not often- complaints about foreign fishers working in the waters off the community of EGSC. Besides that, I did not hear of any major upsetting issue in the community. They talk about differences in the date in which the season opens and they discuss about it, but nobody looked really upset or showed marked dissatisfaction about this issue. They seem to forget it quickly. 7.1.1. Trust Most fishers recognised trust as an important factor for a harmonious management of the resources, and they consider it important in order to live in a peaceful environment, without thinking whether or not government or other fishers are going to lie or betray them, etc. The community of EGSC is small compared to most fishing communities in Northern Mexico and this creates a special type of relationships among its members. Trust is not only gained: it is inherited; fishers are not strangers to each other because most of them grew up together or they are related to somebody who grew up in the community. That makes them trusted. Fishers tend to accept each other just as they are and they all learn to play the game of being part of the 65 community. They all know each other and it is obvious when somebody new arrives, therefore he/she immediately becomes somebody: "the new guy", "the new family", etc. Trust is reflected in every aspect of their lives. Go to the grocery store (mainly established as part of fisher's houses; there is only one chain store in town) and if you don't have enough money at the moment, just say so and the person in charge will tell you to "come back later". "Later" does not necessarily mean that same day; it can be tomorrow or next week. But make sure you come back, otherwise the entire town will know that you don't pay your debts and you won't be trusted anymore. If you have an emergency and need some money just ask some of your relatives or, worst case scenario, one of your friends. They will lend you the money if they have it, and there is no need for signed papers or things like that. It is all made in an informal way. If you own a panga but hire people to go fishing for you, you need to trust that those people will give you the entire catch. I have never seen that fishers get "revision" of their bags or clothes by their patron in order to ensure that they are not keeping part of the product. They are either fully trusted, or not mis-trusted but still accepted. For example, there is a group of not-so-young fishers in the community, that are known to be "lazy" and they never get to be the captain of a panga because fishers don't trust in them as they do in others. They are known to drink too much, wake up late, and, as people in the community say, they would "sell their mothers" to get money and buy beer and cigarettes. This group of fishers is not socially ostracised, they can marry the fishers' daughters, and they get to work in the pangas, but they are not in charge of the fishery at all. Fishers' comments on trust towards the government were mainly positive although there were a few people that stated they do not trust it at all. However, the behaviour of the community clearly shows that they trust the government when it comes to local officials, but they don't trust equally the outside government officials. This is mainly due to the daily interaction of fishers with the local officials. Officials get to know the fishers' families, their lifestyle, their problems and their celebrations. They "have to" become part of the fishing community, otherwise they would be very lonely. Moreover, as it was presented in the previous chapter, many times fishers help the officials to fulfil their duties (helping with gasoline or pangas for the monitoring activities, etc.). On the other hand, "outside" government officials don't have that interaction with the community; they remain foreigners. 66 Regulations coming from the government are accepted in the community as tools for improving the socio-economic situation of the fishers and thus, fishers believe and trust that the government is trying hard to help them. That they disobey such rules is an issue not related to trust so much (although sometimes this comes into play: when fishers think the policies are exaggerated or underestimated they apply their own laws), but to discipline and needs. For many years fishers were used to do what they wanted with the resource because it was abundant and there were few, if any, conflicts of interests outside the community, and the community itself was much smaller than it is now (small competition for the resource). When the policy of prohibiting totoaba fishery came into force the fishers switched to shrimp, which pays very good, and therefore the losses were not dramatic for them. Nowadays things are a little bit more regulated and there are more players in the fishery, but fishers are not used to be regulated, especially if there has not been an effective monitoring system in place, which is the case with this community, or if they see that others are disobeying the law. It is a matter of discipline as much as a matter of need. For fishers it is a "need" to keep fishing as much as possible because there are no other relevant activities in the community. They will have an even stronger reason to go fishing if they see that there are other fishers working in the area (because fishers from the community feel they have more rights to fish in that area than fishers from outside). Regarding trust to other fishers, it was an interesting result that fishers trust the government officials more or the same than they trust other peer fishers. It was a strange set of answers the ones received for this trust theme because the fishers seem to be -in general-satisfied with the way things are in the community even when they see some mistakes and problems around fishers and government. I think the reasoning behind this is that fishers need the authority figure, but the fishers' figure is not enough for this purpose. There are fishers recognised as leaders in the community, but none that could be an authority in issues that the government is in charge of. Fishers want to be all the same and therefore nobody can play the role that a government official plays unless you are not a fisher. Fishers seem to acknowledge that there is some corruption on the co-operatives - and that it has always been like that -, and that there is not a strict enforcement system, which is also acceptable to them. But I did not see any major discontent and I did not see intentions to improve or change such things; they are contempt with the system and do not seem too upset 67 about the problems in the community. For example, one of the participants made the following comment: "I trust the government regulations because the seasons are most of the time well established and the government seems to have the will to monitor that we comply the rules and also they care about how we feel about the issues that happen in town. But to tell you the truth, I do not really trust anybody that is working for the government, nor I trust the fishers that are leaders in the co-operatives: there are too many rats sitting behind the desks. Not even when the co-operatives seem to be very successful nowadays" (Participant #2) The fisher said this without expressing anger or frustration; he just kept talking and preparing his nets; he did not even paused to put emphasis on his words. I think it is beyond that: he has accepted it. This appears to me as if the fisher trusts the regulation (season opening and monitoring) but at times they don't trust people that execute the actions of installing the season opening and the monitoring. There is a "bad taste in the Mexican's mouth" when it comes to government issues. It has always been very corrupt and much of the poverty of the country is blamed on bad government politics and corruption. It is assumed that if somebody works for the government they are corrupt. Then, when it comes to the local community, even when they see that officials are doing their work, there will still always be a sense of wrong-doing just because they are part of the government system. The fisher likes the way co-operatives work and is satisfied with the system, yet he admits that there is corruption going on in the co-operatives, and, worst of all, he does not really care about it. As long as it does not get too bad he accepts it. Participant #11 followed the same idea than participant #2: "Sometimes, like in 1989, we have leaders that are bad and make the co-operative sink. There was a bad administration system. Nobody was punished nor paid for it. When the three years term comes to an end almost all the President's (of the co-operative) leave the co-operative indebted. It happens everywhere. Other than that we don't really have any problems". (Participant #11) And participant #10 said: 68 "They say that co-operatives are well organised nowadays and that they are doing good. At the time when I was working in the large boats (around the '70s) government officials used to come to the co-operative and conduct audits, but the heavy fishers (meaning people with power) would bribe them and that was it. They would leave happy and nobody had a problem". This particular fisher has been in the community since 1949. If the system has always operated with a given level of corruption it is not too difficult to understand that the community see it as a normal issue; as part of the governance system. This brings to my memory a talk that I had once with a very well educated person who used to work for the federal government. I was complaining about corruption among politicians and high-level government officials. This person (for confidentiality purposes we will only call him "Doctor"), who is a recognised scientist, and in the past years has been working with many NGO's on social issues said to me something like this: It does not matter how much they put in their pockets, but how much they do in their jobs. If they (politicians and government officials) did what they are supposed to do it would not matter how much they stole, as long as they fulfilled their duties. This is not a direct "quotation". I remember the meaning of his words but not the exact phrase. However, I am including it in this section to illustrate how other people feel about corruption in the government, and what their position is on the issue. The "Doctor" is a person with a higher social class than that of fishers and with much more education, yet he seems to take a very lax position towards corruption, as long as, just like the fishers said, there are not major negative results. The only group of persons that highly trusts the fishers was that of the wives. Even when formally I only interviewed three women, by informal talks with many more they seem to highly trust their husbands and fishers in general. Women are involved in the fishing activities in an indirect form: they do not go out in the pangas but they often help to download the product and clean it (take the shrimp's head off, open the fish and clean it, etc.). They are also the ones in charge of the home finance: a fisher will sell his product, keep part of it for its own expenses, and give the rest to their wives. In the cases where the main male figure has passed away his place is taken usually by the eldest son, and he will play the same role as his father used to. If he 69 is not married the main female role will continue to be played by the mother, but if the new head of family is already married his wife will be in charge of the house and money, unless the widow owns her own pangas (which is rarely the case). Even when women have a crucial role in the fishing community, the family culture in EGSC is recognised to be very male dominated (or "machista"). This not only consists of men fulfilling all the family's economic needs, but also a tradition of men as the head of the family, which no doubt makes them the ultimate recipients of trust. Women in the community seem proud of what their husbands do and are. They think that the decisions made by their husbands are usually the best, and if they do things that get them in trouble (get a fine or get a warning) they think it had to be that way because there was no other best way of doing things. 7.1.2. Knowledge of Policy, Laws and/or Regulations I used three questions to gather information on the knowledge of policy/laws/regulations theme and I will present the results in this section. However, I will also talk about a different type of knowledge that came up from the interviews: knowledge of the resource, its ecosystem and factors affecting them. A good knowledge of the legal framework for shrimp fishery by fishers should not necessarily be considered a positive factor for the fishery. Knowledge is different to behaviour: fishers may know a lot about the legal framework and still don't follow it. What I am interested in understanding is whether or not fishers make informed decisions that result in either positive or negative actions in the face of the legal framework. As it will be presented in this section, knowledge of biological and economical aspects of the resource, along with knowledge of the legal framework, can be used as a tool to direct actions which could then create an informal flexible approach to fisheries management in the community of EGSC. The first question used to address the "knowledge" theme was whether or not fishers knew the Fishing Law. The responses were polarised into either a good knowledge of the Law or an absolute lack of knowledge. More than half of the fishers interviewed admitted that they did not know the Fishing Law well, or that they did not know it at all, and only one of the fishers interviewed could talk about the contents and structure of the Law. Knowing the fishing law seemed to be more a "chore" of the co-operative leaders. A "common" fisher (I will call 70 "common'' to a fisher that does not hold a position in the co-operative's board of directors and "leader" to a fisher that does) does not think he is obligated to know the legal framework. He believes that leaders are responsible for keeping co-operative members out of trouble and aware of changes and new opportunities provided by the legal framework, and therefore tell and explain fishers what should be known. It can be argued, then, that leaders have discretionary power on deciding what part of their knowledge of the legal framework should be passed on to the common fisher. This does not cause a problem because, as it was explained in the previous section, fishers trust their leaders and that is enough to have them assume that leaders will do their job. Some participants' responses show that knowledge of the legal framework can also be gained by seeing that some fishers are fined, which can get other fishers worried and/or curious on what was the behaviour incurred that ended up in punishment. "I have been fishing for some 12 years and I did not study about the (Fishing) Law until I became president. Before, just by being told by the (co-operative's) President what we should not do I was fine. But sometimes I saw some companeros got a fine for doing things that were normal (meaning common). I was confused because I did not know, so I went and ask the fisheries official what had happened with the companero. The problem is that sometimes those things are fined and sometimes they are not, so it is difficult to know i f you will be punished. But at least we should know that we are doing something wrong so we don't get caught by surprise and can think of ways around it" (Participant #9). This statement shows that it is important to know the fishing policies not only to follow them, but also to learn how "not to" follow it. As in the quote presented above, some fishers assume their actions are good, but they also think it would be good to know when they are doing something wrong because then risks and benefits of either continue or stop an action can be measured. One of the participants did not seem to care about whether or not he incurs into illegal actions, and in his words he did not seem to care for knowing the fisheries law. He seems to feel that since fishers know the resource better than the government, the governments' position is useless: "...they (government officials) can say whatever they want; anyway we will do what we want; we know more than them (refers to the fishery)" (Participant #2). 71 At no point did participant #2 showed interest in not knowing what he should do or not do with respect to the legal framework. I personally don't think that a fisher can not care at all about the law, not because of its effectiveness, but because of its sanctions. However, I think that his comment on knowing more of the fishery than the government officials is somehow justifying him of not caring about the law. Again, he is following more the orders of the natural resource cycle than the legal framework. Other fishers did not give too much importance to knowing/learning about the fisheries law, but they felt that way because the co-operatives take care of them: "I don't know the Fisheries Law very well but so what, the important thing is that the president of the co-operative knows it" (Participant #12). "No. I don't know the fishing law. I don't even know how to read! But in the co-operative they explain to us some things so we don't lose our track (meaning go in the wrong way)" (Participant 17). These two participants don't seem interested in what the law says, as long as the co-operatives keep them informed on what not to do and what to do. So, what do fishers know if they don't know the fishing law? Fishers in EGSC know about policies such as closures and timelines for fishing the different species, and more important, they know how to fish. This information does not necessarily come from the government. The enforcement does come from the authorities because it is considered necessary to make sure that the resource is replenished every season, but fishers, by their experience living in the area, know what species are present at which time of the year and what are their reproductive cycles. Since closures are usually established according to these cycles, fishers' actions tend to fall into those accepted by the legal framework: "We follow the animals that are ready and, well, in September we hit the shrimp, and depending on how much is caught, around December-January we may start getting ready for the curvina, which comes to spawn in the delta and we have to catch it in the runs, preferentially on the run back, when it is empty, but when there are lots of pangas, well, we have to hit it any time we can. Here, if you don't throw yourself to it you don't eat" 72 ... "Of course we don't like catching it when it is fat (meaning before spawning) but you know the saying: i f my grandma has to die or I have to die, then my grandma will die..." (Participant #6). This quotations confirms that fisher know at least the seasons when the resources are present and when are their spawning times. Probably it was not the government who told them about it; chances are that they learnt either because other fishers told them or because their own experience has shown them when shrimp is in reproductive season. "I am not from here but I arrived many years ago so my kids are Golfenos (born in E l Golfo). The first thing I learnt is when to fish what, because my concuno (his sister in law's husband) told me...because I used to work for him" ... " I f he had not told me? Well, I would have realised it because of the big mess that happens before each season" ... "Listen, here, before we learn how to say "father" we learn how to say "shrimp". Everybody know when it is ready to be caught and when it is time to let it rest." ... "I know nothing about how vedas (closures) are chosen but that does not matter because it is the product itself who marks the closure"... "Usually people let it (shrimp) rest when it starts coming out with the patch (the eggs), because well, we should let it reproduce so we can have a good season next year" ... "Nobody buys the shrimp with patch" (Participant #1). Besides showing the importance of the shrimp fishery in the community this quote also shows that lack of knowledge of the legal framework does not necessarily mean that fishers' actions will be negative for the resource. The knowledge of the resource gained by their experience as fishers and its transmission to other family members and/or fishing partners can be of equal or more importance than knowing the legal framework by heart. When the fisher remarks that his sons are born in EGSC and makes a statement which implies the importance of the shrimp fishery in the community ("before we learn how to say "father" we learn how to say "shrimp") I believe he wants to make sure I understand that fishers in El Golfo know their resource. Something very important that I also gather from this quote is that if the legal framework follows up on the nature of the resource (when and where the resource is in "normal" conditions - i.e. not over-exploited) it will be easy for fishers to understand why it is established that way. Knowledge of the resource will go hand by hand with the knowledge of the legal framework. 73 This can be exemplified not only with the closure seasons, when fishers follow them not because it is the policy that government applies but because it is the natural shrimp reproduction cycle, but with the gear fishers use to catch it. Fishers used to have little "trawling nets" (for pangas) to catch shrimp. Now they use drift nets with a special mesh opening (2.5-2.75 inches) because it seems to catch a fair size of shrimp but without trapping the juveniles. Fishers in EGSC were using this gear even when it was not approved by the government (drift nets were banned for any fishery) but that later on was made legal because of its effectiveness. A participant explains how this works: "The trawler has a small mesh (opening) that by being pulled by the panga closes a bit more, leaving the mesh opening even smaller, therefore catching shrimp of every size. With the drift net there is no such problem because the mesh does not closes almost anything, and then what happens is that it catches bigger shrimp" (Participant #2). I would be inclined to think that legal frameworks that follow on the natural cycle of the resource can also reduce the costs of monitoring because the users' common sense is to let the resource reproduce and grow, and use a gear that will be productive yet protective of juveniles. Now, if there were special conditions in the users' community, for example extreme poverty, market for product of small size or in reproductive stages, scarce resource and/or high competition for it, then opportunism would be the guide to actions and respect for the reproductive seasons would not be achieved. This idea of fishers giving the resource the proper rest would not apply and special and stronger measures should be applied. A lack of understanding of the legal framework, however, can create confusion and this can lead to conflict among fishers. For example, several fishers said they disagreed that the large-scale fleet closed the season later than the pangas and that they could not understand why this was the case. Of course they tend to disagree because there is competence between the large and the small-scale fleets but if fishers understood why this policy is in place perhaps would find it less disturbing. Another issue that came from the interviews is that there is some confusion on what is estuarine fishery, usually known as a synonym of small-scale fishery, and what is high seas fishery, also used as the same as large-scale fishery. I would call this a "conceptual gap", and I 74 believe this gap will also produce a policy gap because of the ambiguity or lack of definitions. A government official made some comments about this: "the problem with the Biosphere Reserve is that it is still confusing if the fishery here is estuarine or high seas. You know that the estuarine fishery usually in the South of Sonora, is made by the people from the coast that work in the estuaries; in very confined areas. And here, even when there are many skip boats, they go to the high sea. There is an overlapping. Here, i f you look carefully, you don't really know what it is. It is estuarine because they fish in small boats, but the drift nets they use and the areas where they work are not bays. The Upper Gulf is a big bay, but it is certainly not an estuary. We are talking about 20,40,50 brazas in the deepest part here, and that is the area where the big boats operate. That is why it has been so difficult for us as a reserve to clarify this for the National Fisheries Institute and for fisheries management (in S E M A R N A P ) . Shrimp in the reserve should be something very special given the nature of the place, the conditions, the gear used, the overlapping between the large and the small scale fleet and the closure season" (Participant #24). This comment, I believe, shows that there is a gap in fisheries policy where it is defined what constitutes a fishery and what is the other. Usually this issue is not a matter of confusion in other coastal areas because its geographic characteristics allow for a clear distinction on small and large-scale fishery. However, since EGSC is a community located on the tip of the sea of Cortes, it is like an enclosed big bay, but with depths of an open water system. If the government in conjunction with the fishers were able to define both terms maybe the problems between the large and small-scale fishers would be minor. Fishers in EGSC may not know much about the legal framework for fisheries but they know how to fish. They know not only when the resource is ready to be caught but they have developed the skills needed to find the resource, to use the gear in the most effective way, and to "read" the weather conditions. All these skills are essential to surviving as a fisher and they know it and consider it more important than knowing the legal framework. The same participant (#17) who stated that he did not know the fishing law and that he did not even know how to read said: 75 "Well, let me tell you in matters of, for example, winds, rainstorms, things like that, I do have extensive knowledge. I have never had an (bad) incident in the ocean... this is the most important thing that a fisher should know" Most of the fishers I interviewed did not feel embarrassed about not knowing the legal framework because, as it was stated earlier, somebody else w i l l take care of that (leaders of the co-operative). The three fishers' wives who participated in the structured interviews did not know the Fishing Law; they were almost in the point that they did not know it existed! These women commented that in general most women in the community do not know a thing about the fishing law or any other government policy or regulation. However, as I was conducting informal interviews I learnt that some of them know about the main issues in the community, such as the fact that fishers are not supposed to go into the nucleus area of the Biosphere Reserve, that totoaba is a protected species and should not be targeted, and that fishers need to have a shrimp permit in order to go out fishing. They also know the seasons when certain species are caught, and all this knowledge comes from a daily interaction with their husbands, where women also learn about the policies that fishers dislike, why their husbands or other friends get fined when doing an activity, and so on. 7.1.3. Communication I w i l l define communication as an exchange of information and ideas that implies a shared interest. I am interested in learning about communication in E G S C because I believe it is an important reflection of its institutional strength and future. For this purpose I used five questions as indicators for the theme. The first and second ones refer to the presence of mechanisms for communication in the community and i f the communication in the co-operatives is good. I discovered that there is a mix of formal and informal communication system that seems to be working. For communication among the fishers there is a formal system: the co-operatives' asamblea general (general assembly). These assemblies are required by law (to be held at least once a year) and conducted once or twice a year, generally at the beginning and end of the shrimp fishery to talk about preparedness and results of the shrimp season. Given the growing importance of the curvina fishery since its return to the Upper Gulf, the second general assembly (at the end of the shrimp season) is also used to talk about preparedness of fishers for 76 the curvina season. Although most of the issues addressed during the assemblies relate to shrimp or curvina fisheries, fishers also have an opportunity to speak up in front of the other members of the co-operative regarding other topics. Participants showed conformity with the general assemblies taking place in their co-operatives, and none of them seemed to be intimidated about speaking aloud in front of their companeros (peers). It is in the general assembly where warnings are giving to fishers selling their product outside the co-operatives, and it is also here where conflicts that could not be dealt with on an individual basis among fishers are presented. ".. .that is why we have the general assemblies. There, when one has a doubt (we) just go and ask them, and well, i f those in the board of directors don't know, somebody else will give us a hand" (Participant #12). "When somebody is doing something "crooked" (meaning wrong) we throw the stone to him (this means "suggest", without directly addressing the person involved) saying that we know somebody is doing something. I mean, we tell them i f we see him doing something wrong, but i f he is also still doing it later on, well, during the assembly we'll say it so all fishers will know about it. People are embarrassed of these things" (Participant # 20). The general assembly of each co-operative, therefore, seems to be working fine as a mechanism for fishers to communicate. But how do fishers from different co-operatives communicate with each other? Usually the leaders of each co-operative get together in an informal when they think an issue is of more general concern, or when there is some disagreement between fishers of one co-operative and fishers from the other. "In an informal way" means that there are no regular meetings, specific places or requirements of people involved in such meetings. They can take place in the store, in the corner of any street, etc. Sometimes these meetings even involve government officials. Another question used to gather information on communications was whether or not there is an open "access to information" in the community. El Golfo de Santa Clara is still a small community where it is very easy to approach any member or government official. Most people know where other fishers live and everybody knows where the offices of government officials are. If they can't find them in the morning, they know where do they usually hang in the 77 afternoons. When fishers have a question they just approach the person that could probably help them answer such question; it is as easy as that, and if they couldn't find them today they will find them tomorrow. Government officials are very open to letting fishers approach them because this way they become more and more part of the community; they cannot stand aside because they would be isolated. The information that the co-operatives need is usually available and they do not even have to ask the fisheries official for it. It is not part of the fishers' culture in that community to go to the authorities and ask for information on catches or on other issues but questions on how to fill in the permit requests, etc., and to learn some "gossips" from other fishers: who is doing what. I will present an example without quotations (parts of the interview were not recorded as a request of the interviewee): When I was interviewing the fisheries official in his office, a fisher came in to ask about the status of a fisher identification card that was being requested from Mexico City's office. Before he left, the fisheries official asked him to tell his fishing partner (owner of the boat) to make sure that he was doing things right. The official sent the message that he should watch himself and do things right or he was not going to give him any type of support anymore, and that if he was expelled from the co-operative and did not have a license to fish he (the official) was going to seize the panga. When I asked the official what was all this about, he said that the fisher (owner of the boat) was under an "amparo" in another co-operative but that he had not been delivering the entire product caught. The members of the co-operative were complaining about it one day, so he decided to give the fisher a warning, just to make sure that he knows the official is aware of what is going on. What was better, the official said, is that the fisher that took the message to pass it on will probably tell other people about what is going on, and then there will be a general warning that the official is getting strict on the product delivery. While I was conducting the interviews this question on access to information gave me a bit of trouble on how to present it. Fishers seem a bit confused about my question, but then I realised it was because it had a very simple answer. For example: Me: So, i f you are not sure about why a certain co-operative is doing something different to your co-operative. Lets say, i f you think they have many more pangas registered under a shrimp permit than the number allowed, how do you find out why is this the case? Fisher: I go and ask Me: But how do you do this? Who do you ask? What i f nobody wants to tell you? 78 Fisher: They would tell me. If the fisher does not want to talk about it or plays fool then I go to the fisheries official Me: But how do you do this? Do you have to go to the co-operative's office? Do you have to write a letter or do you have to make an appointment with the official? Fisher: (laughs) - an appointment? No! What for? Wherever I get him I ' l l ask and he'll respond. It is not a big deal Me: And to talk to the fishers, would you go to the co-operative? Fisher: No. There is nobody in the office but the Secretary and she knows nothing about these things. I just ask the fishers when I see them. Me: Do you have to speak with someone from the Board of Directors. Fisher: You think so! - Ja! - No. I just ask any fisher and they'll tell me Me: What i f he does not know? Fisher: A l l of them would know. There is always the dumb fisher but we know who they are so obviously I'm not going to go and ask him.... W i t h this f isher 's comment I learnt that not on ly is easy to approach anybody (fisher or government off icial) to clar i fy or ask something, but that it is expected that a l l fishers from a co-operative k n o w what is go ing on. Th i s reflects a good communica t ion system w i t h i n the co-operative and an easy access to information both inside and outside the co-operative. Regard ing government consul t ing w i t h fishers on fisheries issues (fourth question) I obtained results that also show fishers are comfortable w i t h the communica t ion system i n the communi ty . M o s t fishers commented that usual ly the off icials i n t own do invo lve fishers i n the management o f the resource, and, as it has been presented, this results i n benefits for both the government off icials and the fishers. T h e y help each other and that w a y the system seems to be w o r k i n g . W h e n there are changes to the legal f ramework that w i l l be affecting the fishery o f E G S C government officials ca l l a meeting w i t h the leaders o f the co-operatives and fishers interested. Af te r exp la in ing them about the changes or any other issues that resulted i n that meeting, the who le group decides h o w to apply the rules or h o w to address the issue. H o w e v e r , at a higher leve l (po l i cy -mak ing i n M e x i c o C i t y ) I do not bel ieve fishers are too i n v o l v e d i n the management o f the resource; there is no formal mechanisms to achieve this. Th i s si tuation does not seem to create conflicts because, as it was also stated before, government off icials that l ive i n the communi ty are the ones w h o adapt the formal legal f ramework to the needs o f the fishers i n E G S C , regardless o f what the central government says. 79 On the question of what fishers think of the National fisheries Institute (INP), fishers do not know exactly what it is but they do know that many of the regulations come from this Institution. They understand how the INP used to come up with the date for the opening seasons, and they know some of the research projects that the Institute has done. They openly express the envy they feel because they are not chosen to go out in the trips made by the INP to assess whether the shrimp is in good size or not in order to declare the season opening. Usually the boats used for this purpose are the large-scale trawlers - of which there is none in EGSC - and the fishers' envy is that the product caught becomes property of the boat owners. That is why they know about the research trips for assessment. Some years ago, especially around the time when the Reserve was being proposed and at the time of developing a management plan for the area, there were many studies conducted with interviews and questionnaires, but the INP was not in charge of these studies. They came mainly from universities around the region. At the present time there is not even a representative of the INP working in the community, and there has not been one in a long time. However, in this community there has not been a lot of research on the part of the INP as it has, for example, in larger communities. Most fishers in the community have never been directly involved in the research projects with the INP (all or most of them have been involved indirectly when they report their catches, which are later on used by the institute, but never directly). It seems to me that fishers know more about the other institutions that relate to the work with fishers (PROFEPA, Fisheries Subsecretary, National Ecology Institute) than of the INP. The reason for this could be that the INP is not seen as an "authority" for the activity (although the regulations, policies and laws are largely based on studies that the INP conducts) as it is PROFEPA or other key decision-making institutions from government, which have a physical representation in EGSC. But there are other dimensions to the theme of communications for EGSC. I have spoken about communications of doubts, government information, etc., in the previous paragraphs. When fishers go fishing it is always assumed that they would have told some other fishers around which area are they going to be, how long do they plan on staying out, and other little details such as how much fuel they have for the they activities. Although simple, these details and "petty" talks play an important role in the safety of the fisher. It has become a habit by 80 which fishers rely on others in case something goes wrong while in the water. Why is this important for this study? While conducting interviews I ran across a group of fishers from Puerto Penasco who were in EGSC for the shrimp fishery. Fishers from EGSC did not like the idea of having foreigners fishing in their waters and a way to show their unconformity they simply don't speak with those foreigners. They are socially ostracised but not only in terms of social activities but in terms of fishing activities. The fishers from Puerto Penasco told me they were going to leave soon because they did not feel safe when going out fishing. If anything happened to them nobody would know where they were, when did they leave, etc., unless they had been seen earlier. Of course this was not the only cause why they left but in terms of safety this was the major cause. That is why I consider communication to be an important aspect of the fishery, not only in terms of expressing concerns and ideas with other fishers and government, but also as a tool to increase safety while fishing. 7.1.4. Effectiveness of Fishers as Resource Managers For effectiveness I understand the capability to cause a desired result. I believe that the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of fishers will have an impact in the health of the resource, the social interactions in the community, and the dynamics of the fishing activities. On the other hand, fishers' perceived effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the government's actions help explaining why alternate actions are taken in the community, or in the opposite case, explains why some regulation measures are successful. "Effectiveness" is not only looking at whether the government or fishers' actions are good or not, but at how much capacity such actions have to change the behaviour of the others. In order to review the effectiveness of fishers as resource managers I used four questions as indicators: 1) management approaches are openly discussed, 2) fishers associations are strong and reliable, 3) records suggest that the resource is healthy, and 4) conflict among local fishers is low. Some of the responses to these questions overlap those of the themes of trust, communication, and even a bit with those of knowledge given that they are deeply related. For example, to determine whether or not fishers are effective as resource managers it is necessary to consider communication because it is a basic component of the effectiveness of a group of people. As well, trust will be a main player in the effectiveness of such group as managers of the resource. As it was determined in the previous section the communication system is good among fishers and I found that approaches to management are open and openly discussed. There could 81 be cases were there is good communication among members of a group, but a closed approach to management. In this case the results showed that, besides being good communication there is also an open approach to management in the co-operative. Co-operatives are open to comments and suggestions from its members. These results indicate that fishers are pleased with the way the communication on management issues goes. Regarding fishers associations being strong and reliable, almost all the participants showed satisfaction with the current co-operative system. Co-operatives are very important institutions in the community of EGSC because the shrimp fishery is organised around such groups. By means of co-operatives fishers market their catches, get loans to prepare for the fishing seasons, and it gives more power to the fisher than if he had to be on his own. The strength of the co-operatives in the community is an important factor (among others such as the biology of the resource) for the success of the fishery. "I like being in the co-operative because, since we are many, well, it makes us stronger. It is harder i f somebody wants to abuse us, and moreover, that way we have somebody who speaks for us and takes care of the fishers' interests" ... "Of course there are some problems (in the co-operative) but nothing too heavy... it gives us more than it takes from us. The co-operative helps us selling the product, it gives us money for the gears, even when we need money for a funeral they give us a hand" (Participant #4). "Fishers are only divided into co-operatives. That is our main association and we are all 'mixed up' and we are like a family. Yes. The co-operative for me is very important and it is my second family" (Participant #1). These two quotes show the importance of the co-operatives for fishers. The fact that it is considered as a "second family" says a lot about the association. In EGSC (and in most parts of Mexico) the family is the most important institution for individuals. I believe the fact that EGSC is still a very small community allows for a sense of a large family. The interrelation among its members is such that they develop a feeling of common belonging. The same happens with the co-operatives because for every season its members fish together, they meet in the co-operative when delivering the product, they see each other in meetings, and they also see each other when leaving and returning from the fishery. All the pangas of a co-operative tend to be parked in the same area. This deep interaction tends to create a bond that can be compared to that of the family. 82 In EGSC there is not a lot of creation and closing of co-operatives in the community, although in the past years many families have got together and created their own little co-operatives, which they say are running well. When there are many new co-operatives being created and many closing down it is a sign that either this institutions are not well managed or they are not serving the purpose for which they were created. Even when most fishers said that co-operatives worked very well, they were happy with this system, they were no different from associations in other communities, I also heard some stories on corruption and mismanagement of the co-operatives. Some of these comments were presented in the TRUST section. Other negative comments refer not only to corruption in the Boards of Directors but inequality among the members' work: "Well, working like that, as a group, is good, but only when everybody delivers (not only in terms of production but in terms of workload, fees payment, etc). Because there are some that pull towards one side and some that do deliver. However, it is very beneficial for us to work in co-operatives" (Participant #9). This clearly shows that members of a co-operative understand the shortcomings of their organisations but in general terms they feel there are benefits of belonging to such organisations despite these shortcomings. For the third indicator, records suggest that the resource is healthy, almost three quarters of participants thought that the resource was in a "normal" state. They interpret this state as being good enough to continue fishing but not as abundant as it used to be a few years ago. I was quite surprised with their answers because among my assumptions when preparing this project was the idea that fishers were very disappointed with the actual catches and that they would complain a lot about it. It did not happen this way and most fishers said that in the past it was better, but they did not mean the immediate past. Some of them made a reference to a range of 10 - 25 years ago. "Compared to 10-15 years ago, it was different then (meaning fishers used to catch more product), but that is because there were less pangas fishing" (Participant #16). 83 Moreover, since the market value of the shrimp has increased in the past years, the fact that catches are lower than in past years is not a big deal because they keep earning the same or more amount of money. Of course, fishers say, there is more money spent nowadays that there are phone lines and "sky" (a sort of cable tv but through a dish), but in general the economy seems to be maintained at an acceptable level. "In the last 5 years or so the fishery has been good, we survive with what we get. Compared with some 10 years ago I don't know i f it is better or worse. What I used to receive (income) some 5 years ago is not similar to what I get now.... Well, now money is different (meaning he gets more) but there used to be more shrimp before" (Participant #12). ".. .but before you could not market the product the way we do now, so we end up getting as much money as we used to get then (10-15 years ago)" (Participant #16). Even when fishers don't see the resource as being scarce, most of them argued that if the trawlers keep going into the Upper Gulf (which is the area that fishers from EGSC use) there will come a time when shrimp will decline. The large nets used for trawling take out all the small and mature shrimps, which are needed as reproducers. For the last indicator (conflict is low among local fishers) there was general agreement that it is low among local fishers and that when there are differences they are easily solved either by talking or negotiating. Simply, as a participant presents it: "In this campo (field) i f you argue or fight with somebody the next day you're hugging each other. There is no resentment among fishers in EGSC but with people from outside (the community) it is different.. .you can find resentment there" (Participant # 13). Many of the participants thought that it was easy to solve their differences over a meal or in the bar, just talking about it and, if it was something that they know they did wrong, they would pay for the meal and/or drinks. If it were something that somebody else did wrong, you would expect that person to invite you to discuss it and pay for your meal too. That does not happen with foreigners. People from outside the community do not talk to people from the community and much less you would expect to find them eating with some people from EGSC. They are very territorial in their fishing area, and if conflict arises fishers call the government 84 officials and complain. Usually there are no physical fights although fishers say it has happen some time, but they rather have the authority to send them out of the community. The cases where there has been a fight, it ends up there; there are no revenge feelings, fishers say. Whoever wins is the winner and there is no doubt about it. They move on to something else. Fishers from EGSC tend to be more patient with each other than with fishers from outside. There are problems among them but usually they don't mean to harm each other. For example: "Some fishers make me angry because they don't know how to fish and they rip my gear (in the water) because they go too fast and not paying attention to what they are doing. Other times, well, it is not the fishers' fault because in the winter they are driving and covering their faces they don't know where they are going and they rip it (the gear)" ... "ah! If the one who rips my gear is a boat then I do scream to them and make them pay it tome. You can't be patient with those guys" (Participant #1). But as it can be understood from this quote, if the one who makes the fisher "angry" is an outsider then he doesn't just sit and try to fix the problem himself. He goes to the government official or to his co-operative and demands that the harm be amended. 7.1.5. Effectiveness of Government as Resource Managers For this theme seven indicators were used: 1) officials understand and are sympathetic with fishers objectives, 2) formal and informal regulations are complementary, 3) compliance with regulation is high, 4) conflict among fishers is low, 5) technology change is driven by fishers, not outside agencies, 6) traditional knowledge of fishers suggests healthy resource, and 7) data on economic value of the resource is stable or increasing. The first indicator - officials understand and are sympathetic with fishers objectives -provided answers that showed fishers -in general- agree that government officials in the community listen to what they have to say and with the objectives they propose. It is important to notice that even when people responded in a positive way, the answer is based on the personal experience of the fisher. I learned that here is no such thing as a formal set of meetings or reviews of what the fishers' objectives are and how to get to such objectives. So, for example, fishers will be happy during the season if they see that the fisheries official is taking a 85 determined approach to warn trawlers to get out of the Reserve area, and that he is also being strict with fishers that come from outside the community (small-scale fishers from Penasco or San Felipe). On the question of complementarity of formal and informal regulations participants think that in general the informal rules, the ones they "interpret" (as opposed to the ones they "have to obey"), follow up on what the government dictates. It was not asked in this question if the other way applied as well, where the government creates regulations and laws according to what the fishers have already established as part of their institution, but I noticed that government officials in the community were following up on these informal arrangements. For example, fishers are willing to participate in the monitoring operations in the community. They do it voluntarily as a way to participate, or they do it because there is the need to do it: there are not enough resources in the government to complete such a duty. Fishers decide where they want to go at that specific time - I never saw an initiative to look for longer-term goals - and how they want to organise themselves; government officials suggests ideas as well. The officials' presence, although an authority one is not the dominant presence because, ultimately, fishers are the ones who know when there are foreigners fishing in the waters of EGSC or if fishers from the community are doing an illegal activity related to the fishery. The government officials depend on the support of the local community The third indicator was whether or not compliance with the regulations was high. Fishers say they do listen to the government and follow what the regulations say and when they are not following the rules (which I witnessed several times) the government somehow covers them. There is a phrase in Spanish that express exactly what happens in the community of EGSC. It says that the government officials "se hacen de la vista gorda" which means that the officials are aware of what is going on and they let it go. But they do not promote it deliberately. The fourth indicator was the level of conflict among fishers in the community. All of the fishers responded that conflict in EGSC was not common, and that when there were differences among fishers they would solve them by talking or just letting it go. Regarding outside fishers they said there are some conflicts and they totally disagree on having the trawlers working in the area of the Biosphere Reserve. This is expressed through many complains to the fisheries official and they (fishers) often get them to go in their boats to show them that it is true the 86 trawlers are fishing in the area. There have not been cases of violence between the trawlers and the panga boats, but panga (small-scale) fishers often threaten government officials that they will not be patient any more. This is especially the case when a trawler accidentally runs over the nets of the panga fishers; it makes them terribly mad because they have to lose at least one day of fishing to repair the equipment. Other times they don't even recover parts of their nets. The fifth indicator on "technology change driven by fishers, not outside agencies" scored very low in the answers of fishers. They say that usually when there is a switch on the equipment or the fishing technique is because the government asks them to do so. However, the nets that fishers are using now for shrimp, the drift nets, were used illegally for a long time before the government allowed them to use it. This means that even when the government is the one who decides when it is necessary to change technologies, if fishers found a way of fishing that seems to be effective they just keep using it. That is how fishers managed to get the approval of the government for the use of drift nets in the shrimp fishery. Drift nets are very effective to catch shrimp (profitable), do not get large amounts of by-catch and seems to take care of the larvae and juveniles. Fishers used to work with a technique similar to that used by the trawlers, but in a small scale. A panga used to sweep the ocean with a net that formed a "bag" where the shrimps would get caught. Later they switched to the use of drift nets. I do not know exactly why this was motivated, but I think fishers were looking for something that involved less work and fuel use. With the present fishing technique fishers get to rest between "lances" (putting the gear in the water) and they can turn the boat off while waiting to pick up the nets They used drift nets to catch other species and decided to try out how would it work for the shrimp fishery. At that time the use of drift-nets was prohibited in Mexico (drift nets in the high seas are still prohibited) and fishers were often warned that it was not allowed to fish the way they were doing it. It is not of my knowledge whether or not the LNP conducted studies to compare the use and effects of the different types of gear, but it was finally allowed and now is the only way to catch shrimp in the community. Moving on to the last two indicators, they refer to the health of the resource. For the sixth indicator, "traditional knowledge of fishers suggests healthy resource", most fishers answered that it was recovering and coming back to the normal state. Almost all the participants mentioned that in the late 80's early 90's there was a shrimp collapse, but they said it was not 87 due to over-fishing (by them), but to external conditions such as the reduced flow of freshwater from the river, the sweeping of the sea-bottom by the trawlers, and the El Nino effect. Some fishers said that the number of pangas was increasing too fast, but they say that the resource is abundant and thus it did not affect them that much. The last indicator for the theme was "formal data on economic value of the resource is stable or increasing". Fishers answered that what they get now is not too different to what they used to get 15 or 20 years ago, but that it is definitely lower than what it was before that, when their parents or family ties were fishers. They tend to measure this by looking at the income they get every shrimp season and at the consumer power that they have at the end of the season. 7.2. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS' OPINION The sample of government officials was small, but that of the.local federal officials is representative because it includes more than half of the federal employees working with fisheries in town. It actually involves most the people that work directly with fishers and the only group of federal employees that were not interviewed were the army and the marine. The views of the other group, the outside federal officials, are presented to look for differences in thoughts and ideas compared with those of the officials that interact with the community on a daily basis. This group is represented by high level officials, which I would assume gives a good idea of how the fisheries management is done. 7.2.1. Trust Government officials had a varied opinion about trusting fishers, but most of them thought that it was not possible to trust them in terms of managing the resource. The only official that responded in a positive way about this trust issue conditioned his response to "if they are educated". By "educated" the official means somebody that has attended school, that can measure himself and restraint from going fishing when they see the resource is getting scarce; somebody who can look after himself and make sure that what they do has the least impact in the environment, and somebody that makes full use of the resource. I agree with the officer's idea that fishers need to receive more information on how their actions affect the environment and how this could eventually be reflected in the fishing activities. 88 Most fishers do not really think that what they do can affect the environment; they think their actions are too isolated to produce an impact. On self-organisation and granting of more power to fishers one of the officials mentioned the following: "What if the community decides to get self-organised? They will say 'hey, I want to do this, I want to be my own authority', and their decisions would be respected. But the problem is that the entire community could be wrong, don't you think? What do we do then? ... So far the community has not shown interest either in organising the fishery nor in looking at taking real care of the resource" (Participant #25). As time went by and I was able to collect more information and insights from the participants I realised that a formal education of fishers would be an asset to the fishery management but is not a requirement for it, and I will proceed to explain. Right now not many fishers are educated and only the young fishers have some formal education, however, during my interviews I talked to people that never went to school and yet had a better understanding of how the way they fish affects the environment. On the other hand, I also talked to many young fishers that went to school and do not understand this relationship. I guess the point to clarify here is that yes, fishers need to be educated but it does not necessarily have to be a formal education. The education they receive in the family could suffice to understand the interaction fisher-resource. However, my argument is not against formal education but against assuming that educated fishers will manage the resource better. A formal education of fishers would benefit the community in that it would presumably give them a better preparation on what to do apart from fishing. Technical and administrative skills for other activities and for the organisation and management of their own expenses would have a direct positive effect in the fishery. One of such effects could be the reduction of pressure when the resource is scarce and still be able to do something else to get money. Another positive effect of improving education in the community would be the possible organisation of a management system applied by the community itself. As it will be presented on the theme of "effectiveness of fishers as resource managers", as contradictory as it may seem government officials had a good opinion on how fishers manage the fishery, regardless of their education level. This leads me to believe that officials think fishers are good managers as long as they are under the monitoring of the government. 89 7.2.2. Communication As expected, officials responded in a very positive way to the questions regarding communications with fishers and with the rest of the government. It does not come as a surprise given that fishers also thought their communication system is good. Regarding communication with other government officials and agencies most participants said it was very good: "Each of our occupations is distributed independently; we never overlap but we do co-ordinate. Each one of us (government officials) has clear what we have to do" (Participant #23). But my experience in the community showed there were some communication problems or differences between at least two of the officials in EGSC. They did not acknowledge it, but when talking about some of the problems and barriers they face while doing their duties they refer to each other as a major cause of distress. One of the officials (# 22), who is in charge of enforcing the law in order to protect the environment was explaining to me that he had some problems doing his job because the orders given by the different agencies that play a role in the fishery were conflicting with what he is supposed to do: "I do not understand this: we are supposed to monitor the resource, but the fisheries official tells me not to fine anyone as long as they have the boat registration with them. Everybody has that, but not everybody has the license for shrimp. Then, what am I supposed to do? He receives the order from up there (central government) where they decide that the regulation should change but I am supposed to do something else..." He said that he had spoken about this issue with his immediate boss in the Federal Delegation in Hermosillo, Son., and she just responded by saying "as long as it does not become a severe problem, just let it go". As it can be seen in the official's comment, apparently the government agencies had not discussed this "new" regulation (or lack of regulation) so it was something unexpected for him. What is even more interesting to me is that the official's boss continued to play the game. This confirms my idea that government agencies are mainly trying to keep most players happy, and as long as there are no major problems with the fishery they will continue with a very lax approach to the enforcement of rules. 90 Regarding communication between the government officials that live in the community and fishers, and among fishers, participants in general think there is good communication in EGSC. Outside federal government officials were the most optimists about this communication issue, which I think are the ones that know less about the community and how things are handled. The communication between the local officials and the fishers is much better than that of local federal officials with outside federal officials. I think outside officials see things in a simpler way just because of being outside of the community. The local officials do not report to the outside ones very often; perhaps every couple of months the local official will visit the outside offices for a day or so - which I don't think is enough to communicate what is going on in the community. Now with the introduction of telephone services in the community is easier to contact other levels of government, but for example, only the fisheries and the Reserve office have phones, and they are very limited in their use because of budget restrictions. 7.2.3. Effectiveness of Fishers as Resource Managers This theme gave a high score to fishers as managers on all four indicators (1. Management approaches openly discussed, and 2. Fishers associations strong and reliable, 3. Records suggest that resource is healthy, and 4. Conflict among local fishers is low). Government officials believe that fishers discuss the management approaches in an open way, their associations are strong and reliable (although some participants talked to me about corruption occurring inside the co-operatives). In general, however, they thought everything goes well in the organisations, the records suggest a healthy resource1, and the conflict is low among local fishers. Government officials mentioned that fishers have peculiar ways of showing their disagreement with certain actions performed by some other fishers. For example, fishers cannot tolerate that other fishers go out for shrimp in the reproductive season because they know it will be reflected in the next season's catch. When they hear about fishers catching shrimp at that time, the co-operative or the community "punishes" the badly behaved fishers by ostracising them, embarrassing them in front of other fishers and, in the case of foreign fishers, they even destroy their equipment. Maybe this is the reason why government officials think fishers are good managers of the resource, yet they do not trust them. 91 Fishers in EGSC are territorial. This means that they don't like to share the fishing grounds with people from other community than EGSC, even when the law/regulations allow for an open access to such grounds. There are various examples around the world where this situation occurs in fisheries management. A simple one is that of the small villages on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Peru, where villagers, in spite of the absence of recognition and support from the government, exclude outsiders from the fishing grounds by 'illegal' mechanisms: threatens, gear destruction, physical attacks (Pinkerton and Weinstein 1995). The difference with the community of EGSC is that it has received 'illegal' backup from the government representatives in the community, which makes things somehow more 'official', yet not legal. Begossi (1998) mentions that ownership and defense of territories come with various costs: time, resources, and social involvement but that when the costs of exclusive use compensate for the benefits gained from this use then such behaviour can be expected. I think that to some extent fishers in ESGC are more sensitive to social sanctions such as ostracising and threaten than to those applied by the government, which are mainly of an economic nature. The Fisheries Law's Article 26 (second and third paragraph) mandates that: "For purposes of the preceding paragraph five categories of sanctions are established as follows: 1. Revocation of the license, permit or authorisation; seizure of the products and/or fishing gear and/or levying of a fine; and according to the seriousness of the offence, temporary closing of the facility or facilities and/or seizure of the vessel or vehicle; 2. Revocation of the license, permit or authorisation, permanent closing of the facilities and/or levying of a fine; 3. Temporary suspension of the rights of the license, permit or authorisation, temporary closure of the facilities and/or levying of a fine; 4. Seizure of the products obtained from the aquatic flora and fauna and/or vessels or vehicles, fishing gear and/or levying of a fine; and 5. Admonition" Article 26 of the Fisheries Law states that depending on the seriousness of the infringement (1 to 5 in the above paragraph) fishers could be fined with an economical sanction ranging from 20 to 20,000 times the minimum wage (in Mexico it is approx. 5 US/day). I think that the fines stated in the Fisheries Law are extremely high for the small-scale fishers because 1 This point will be addressed in chapter six with my own opinion regarding the health of the ecosystem. 92 their income is not the same as that of the large-scale boats. Owners of large-scale vessels have more economic resources than small-scale fishers. If a fisher is caught "taking, catching, possessing, transporting or dealing in species for which a closed season was declared or of a size or weight smaller than the minimum specified by the Secretariat of Fisheries, or taking such species from refuge or restocking zones or sites" (Fisheries Law, article 24, 2nd paragraph, number XIX), the action triggers Article 25 number 1. If there is a decision to fine the fisher the corresponding sanction, as established in Article 26 will be of between 1001 to 2000 times the minimum wage (5000-10000 US), which is an amount that most fishers could not afford Social sanctions serve to enforce the rules that the community considers important and is done through actions that will have a social effect on the fisher. It is a viable option and everybody is subject to it, regardless of his economic situation. Economic sanctions established in the Fisheries Law are very severe for the low-scale fishers, so much that often they cannot be applied effectively (nobody can afford to pay them). 7.2.4. Effectiveness of Government as Resource Manager For this theme, as in the previous one, officials believe the government is playing a good role as resource manager in the community. The issue of compliance and complementation of formal and informal regulations was not referred to be very good. However, the results were lower than those given by fishers. Officials believe that the government is sympathetic to fishers objectives, that the conflict among the fishers is low thanks to the way government manages the resources, and that the traditional and formal data suggests shrimp fishery is a healthy resource. The low scoring indicators were those on compliance with regulations and how complementary are the formal and informal regulations. This results show that even when fishers think they are doing a good job and that regulations are suited to their needs, the view of the government on these aspects is different. Government officials acknowledge that not all the rules all the time are followed, but it is not as bad as to make it a big problem. They also believe that the informal arrangements of the fishers for the resource management do not necessarily follow up on what the government dictates, but again, it is not too bad, as long as they are there to make sure that it does not get worse and still maintain a good social stability in the community. 93 C H A P T E R E I G H T P O S S I B L E S C E N A R I O S A N D C O N C L U S I O N S 8.1. R E S E A R C H Q U E S T I O N S ( A N D P O S S I B L E S C E N A R I O S ^ In this section I revisit the three research questions posted at the beginning of this study: 1. How are shrimp fishery activities taking place in EGSC? There is a formal and informal system for fisheries management that inter-plays in the shrimp fishery in EGSC. The formal system consists of a legal framework for which the Fishing Law is the main regulator and where the sanctions and some requirements for the fishery (i.e. licenses, monitoring activities) are established. However, there are several policies that are also important regulators for the fishery, such as those for gear restrictions (specific mesh sizes, specific type of boats) and closure seasons (vedas). In EGSC there are various government officials that are in charge of enforcing the legal framework for fisheries and fishers are organized in co-operatives. They seem to be satisfied with the way the fishery works. The informal system for fisheries management consists of a set of "modifications" that fishers -consciously or not- make to the formal rules. Among the most interesting are modifications to the legal requirements in order to go shrimping, for the marketing of the product, and for the monitoring of the fishing areas. There is also an informal approach to sanctioning those fishers that seem to be misbehaving. 2) How do formal and informal fishing arrangements work? The two systems of fisheries management, the formal and the informal one are continually inter-playing in EGSC and it is accepted by both fishers and government officials who live in the community. Results from the interviews suggest that these systems are working and allow fishers to adapt the formal system to their specific needs. It also allows government officials to become part of the community and to gain co-operation from fishers to help them fulfill part of their mandate. 3 . Can the present system be maintained? 94 There have been various crisis or shocking events for which fishers have shown flexibility and ability to overcome those situations. Such was the case of the closure of the totoaba fishery in the '40s and '50s, the decline in the market for shark, and more recently (late '80s) the decline in shrimp catches. Moreover, fishers in EGSC have also shown a good relationship with the local authorities, which become their allies for this informal management system. The community of EGSC has shown some resilience during its history, which leads me to say that I do believe the present system works and could be flexible enough to adapt to future changes. To illustrate my ideas on the community and its capacity to maintain the present system I will present three different scenarios. At the end I will look at the expected results of such scenarios, which are the basis of my response to this third research question. I will use the term 'resilience" as the capacity of the community of EGSC to face and overcome crisis or disturbing events related to fishing resources. Scenario A: The number of boats in EGSC increases in excess (i.e. it doubles in size) Fishers in EGSC, when seeing that the number of pangas continues increasing begin organizing to establish a prioritization mechanism for fishers. Government officials support fishers in their strategy by enforcing the law as to restrict access to fishing licenses so not all the boats can go out and work. Fishers are in favor of this strategy and they also start identifying fishers who have been part of the community longer than others, and those identified will have fishing priority over the others. If an old fisher starts acquiring many pangas the co-operatives will stop them by allowing only certain number of his pangas to be registered in the community. Trust among fishers that have been in the community longer continues the same but not with those that are considered "excess" fishers in the community. They will not be trusted and there will be conflict with them, for which the government officials will have to be in charge. After a while the "newest" fishers will move out of the community. The government officials' regained power will help formalizing the actual informal arrangements, which will end up in a more consistent fishery management. However, all these adjustments to a new, more consistent fishery management will take place in a climate of continuous conflict. Change will not happen without opposition, especially when not everybody will receive direct benefits. 95 Scenario B: The shrimp fishery suddenly collapses Although this would be an extremely shocking situation I see some fishers temporarily moving outside EGSC to fish for a couple of months and later on seriously preparing and organizing themselves for the curvina fishery, and taking steps to more seriously target other species after the curvina season. Fishers would probably make arrangements to keep control of the marketing of the fish in order to keep the price per kilogram at a certain level where they get a common benefit. Fishers' organization will be a key element to overcome the collapse of shrimp and communication between fishers and government officials, although already high, will increase while searching for solutions and interim measures. Trust among fishers will continue the same, as well as trust between fishers and government officials because the causes of the collapse will not be blamed on any of these two groups, but on outside circumstances such as the trawling fleet and/or natural events (nifio, flow of fresh waters, etc.). The present relationship fishers-government allows for a shared responsibility of the fishery. Again, as in the first case scenario, this situation would not move forward without conflict caused by the sudden economic pressure put in fishers and the social pressure put in government. Scenario C: The trawling fleet (large-scale vessels) expands and continues fishing in the Upper Gulf This situation, being an outside factor which has always been latent and somehow bothering fishers from EGSC, would increase unity of fishers and instead of just keep the yearly complaints to SEMARNAP, would take care of the situation once and for all. This third scenario, although with some variations, has already happened in larger fishing ports and, for example, fishers responded by not allowing the large trawlers to go fishing. In EGSC there is no infrastructure for large boats but I believe the response of fishers would be to close access to their fishing areas by having pangas closing the deepest channels, which the large boats use to navigate while in the Upper Gulf. The peculiar interplay of the formal and informal arrangements in EGSC would help the community getting the local authorities on their side. Besides, the fact that fishers from EGSC are now using the Biosphere Reserve as a political card would help them gain some support from Mexico to protect the Upper Gulf. As it was presented during the thesis, fishers are very territorial and tend to get together to fight outsiders. The large-scale fishery sooner or later will have to leave the Upper Gulf of California 96 With these three examples I present my vision of the community under different circumstances, and I arrive to the conclusion that this community is flexible enough to adapt to possible negative events and successfully manage to continue surviving as a fishing community. Therefore I believe that the present system can be maintained. It will not happen without conflicts among fishers and between fishers and government, because the present system, being so flexible, has allowed the different players to somehow play with their own rules. This would be impossible to continue under extreme circumstances. 8 . 2 . CONCLUSIONS There are many factors that have an effect on the natural resources on which a community may depend. It is fair to say that only a few factors involved in the relationship of natural resources and the associated community were studied. Demographic dynamics in EGSC (migration of fishers in and out), effects of trawlers working around the area of EGSC and water-release issues (from the Colorado River into the Gulf of California), for example, were recognized as significant but were beyond the objectives of this thesis. Shrimp is a common pool resource (CPR) in the upper Gulf of California to which fishers from different communities have access. According to the economic theory of CPRs if there are no formal government regulations for management of the resource or if it does not become a private resource the common resource will be over-exploited. However, in the case of the fishery in EGSC I found that fishers behave as if their group owned the resource in the areas where they fish and have found ways to keep some outsiders from accessing it. Thus, even when shrimp is a common resource it is seen as private by fishers and therefore it should not be expected to necessarily face the "tragedy of the commons" in the traditional sense. This suggests that there is a continuum of resource exploitation: from careful husbandry of private resources to the extreme of over-exploitation of the common. Results suggest that the community of EGSC has been adapting formal regulations (those established by the government) to their specific needs, and has persuaded government actors present in the community to accept the community's actions with respect to the shrimp fishery. Based on the information collected on this study, shrimp fishery in EGSC seems to be sustainable: catches seem to be sustained, there is social harmony among fishers from the 97 community and between fishers and (local) government officials, and the economy of the community is stable. The shrimp fishery collapsed in the late 80's, but it has been the only recorded time that this happens and, although shocking for the community, fishers seemed to be quite flexible in adapting to catching alternative species. Besides, the fact that precisely that year the curvina returned to the Upper Gulf somehow buffered the losses from the shrimp collapse. This is not to suggest that fishers in EGSC have found the way to successfully manage the resource. Many fishers do not seem conscious of how their actions, although small or isolated, affect the environment. For example, fishers do not see their fishing activities as having an impact on the resource nor do they practice environmental conservation by properly disposing fish/shrimp waste on the beach. One of the contributions of this thesis is that it presents a case study were a common pool resource seems to have an effective informal management system that sustains the resource. Seen from the outside it could be argued that the system is effective because it is strongly regulated by the government, but once you study the community and see how the management really takes place, the case presented shows that the formal regulations are not followed strictly by users. What do the results mean? Are formal regulations necessary for fisheries management in EGSC even when they are not strictly followed? The present formal system of fisheries management in Mexico is a top-down approach which, given the broadness of the federal government mandate for natural resources management, does not allow flexibility for the creation of appropriate regulations for each fishing community. Formal regulations have to be "adapted" to the specific needs of fishers of EGSC. This is accomplished by a bottom-up approach, which seems to be working. Formal regulations are necessary as guidelines, but the legal/policy/regulatory framework for fisheries in Mexico should provide for more flexibility for communities to provide input or adapt regulations to specific needs, which arise from geographical, organizational and cultural factors. Fishers in the community of EGSC are not trying to exclude external authority from the fishery management and openly state they are more comfortable having somebody from outside their group as an authority. 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Fishers' Organizations and Modes of Co-Management: The Case of San Miguel Bay, Philippines. Human Organisation. Vol. 56, No. 3, pp. 333-343. Thomas, J. 1993. Doing Critical Ethnography. Qualitative Research Methods Series. V.26. SAGE Publications Inc. USA. Vidal-Talamantes, R. 1988. Camaron. In La Pesca en Baja California. M. Siri-Chiesa and P. Moctezuma (eds.). Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. Young, P. 1966. Scientific Social Surveys and Research. Prentice-Hall, Inc. New Jersey. 102 ANNEXI SAMPLE OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE APPLIED Dear Fisher, The objective of this questionnaire is to know your opinion about the fishing activity and the government performance related to the community. My name is Liliana Rodriguez. I am a Graduate Student in the University of British Columbia, in the Institute for Resources and the Environment, in Canada. This questionnaire will provide important information for my thesis. The project is called "Institutional Arrangements for Fisheries: a Case Study" and my supervisor, Dr. Michael Healey, and me are the principal investigators on it. The study wants to see how effective is the actual fisheries management, and how it could be improved. I am not part of any organization or any government. In addition to this questionnaire, I will also be conducting some interviews in the area during this month: You can contact me any time at the "Nuevo Hotel del Golfo" or through Don Raul, the owner. All the information that you provide will be kept strictly confidential: Only my supervisor and I will have access to the raw data. The results will be summarized in the thesis report, but raw data will not be published. If you agree to answer the questionnaire all you have to do is place a check mark in the sentence that best reflects what you think about the question. The questionnaire has three sections, and it will take you about 15-20 minutes to complete it. You can stop answering at any point or if a question makes you feel uncomfortable don't answer it. If you finish the questionnaire and hand it in, I will assume you are giving me consent to use the information provided. 103 Please check the answer that best applies to you 1. How long have you been involved in fishing activities? i) 0-5 yr. 2)6-10yr. 3) 11 or more yr. 2. Are you from Sonora? if YES, please specify from where, and you can go to question 3. 0) No i) Yes (please specify from where in Sonora) 2a. Where are you from? 1) Sinaloa 3) BCS 5) Jalisco 2) BC 4) Nayarit 6) Other (please specify) 2b. When do you come here to fish? 1) Shrimp season 3) Chano season 2) Corbina season 4) Other (please specify) 3. What species do you catch? (you can choose more than one) 1) Shrimp 5) Corbina 2) Shark 6) Mantas 3) Chano i) Mollusks 4) Sierra 8) Other (please specify) 4. In what areas of the Upper Gulf do you usually fish (if applies): a) Shrimp b) Corbina c) Other species 5. Do you fish in other region besides the Upper Gulf? If NO please go to question 5. 0) No i) Yes 5 a. Where else do you usually fish? 1) West coast of BC 3) Islands in the Gulf 2) West coast of BCN 4) Lower Gulf 6. Is there some other activity that you do when you are not fishing, in order to get some money? i) No 2) Yes (please specify) 105 7. Do you consider that the fishery has some serious problems in this community? If so, please list the three most important ones. o) No i) Yes 1. 2. 3. Section II. Interaction with other fishers and government officials Please mark the answer that best applies for you. 1. Have you had any problems with your fishing "companeros"? If NO, go to question 2 0) No i) Yes la. When you have problems with some of your "companeros" usually they are: 1) From the same group that you always fish with 2) From another group (please specify which one) 3) Both (my group and other groups) lb. Was the problem solved? o) No i) Yes but not satisfactorily 2) Yes, satisfactorily lc. If your answer was "yes, but not satisfactorily", please tell me what do you think would have been a satisfactory agreement. Id. Was somebody involved to help you solving it? (If yes, please specify who or by what mechanism) o) No i) Yes (please specify) 2. Have you had any problems with government officials regarding the fishing activity? If NO, you can go to section III. o) No i) Yes 2a. From which department? 106 1) SEMARNAP 2) PROFEPA 3) CRIP/LNP 4) LNE (Biosphere Reserve) 5) Other (please specify) 2b. Was the problem solved? 0) No i) Yes, but not satisfactorily 2) Yes, satisfactorily 2c. If your answer was "yes, but not satisfactorily", please tell me what do you think would have been a satisfactory agreement. 2d. Was somebody involved to help you solving it? (If yes, please specify who or by what mechanism) 0) No i) Yes (please specify) Section III. Fishery Management Please check the answer that best applies for you. 1. Who would you consider to be the main fishing authority in this community? (please specify who or from which office/group). You can choose more than one, but not more than two 1) A government official 2) A cooperative group or leader 3) A free fisher 4) A buyer 5) Other 2. Why do you think it is the case? 107 3. Do you know the "Fishing Law"? 1) Yes, I know it very well 2) Yes, but little 3) Not at all 4. Has there been any government official in this community that helped explaining the Fishing Law? o) No i) Yes 5. Do you consider the Fishing Law necessary? o) No i) Yes Why? 6. Do you think the Fishing Law could help solve or prevent some problems? o) No i) Yes Why? 7. Do you belong to any Cooperative, Union or other fishers' Organization? If your answer is NO, you can go to question 7. o)No i)Yes 7a. Which one? 7b. List the three most important benefits that being a member of that organization brings you. 7c. What would you consider as the "draw backs" of being a member of a fishers' organization? 108 7d. In general, are you satisfied with the way the organization is managing the fishing issues? If yes, please go to question 8. o)No i)Yes 7e. Your answer was No. What makes you stay in the group even when you are not satisfied? 8. Do you consider the fisher's organizations as an important part of the fisheries management? 0) No i) Yes Why? 9. What word would you use to describe the fisher's organizations in EGSC: 1) Observatory (Aware of what is going on. Not getting involved) 2) Participatory (They have a role in the decision making process) 3) Mandatory (They are the main authority in the decision making process) 10. Have you heard of the Biosphere Reserve(BR)? If your answer is No, please go to question 11 o) No i) Yes 10a. Do you know why it was created? o) No i) Yes 10b. Do you think it is useful to have a BR? (Explain why) o) No i) Yes Please explain why do you think so 10c. The establishment of the BR has: i) Made me better off 2) Made me worse off 3) Made me better and worse off 4) Has not affected me. 109 11. Do you think that if the government were the only one managing the fishery in this area, the fishing activity in general would be better? o) No i) Yes 12. Do you think the government should be the only one in charge of managing some fisheries, and be totally excluded of some others? If NO, you can go to the following question. o) No i) Yes 12a. Which species do you think should be managed by the government? 12b. Which species do you think should NOT be managed by the government? 13. In general, how well do you think the aquatic resources are managed in this area? Excellent Good Average Below Avg. Poor 1 2 3 4 5 14. More specifically, please tell me how would you rate the following aspects of fisheries management: Excellent Good Average Below Avg. Poor 14a. License allocation 1 2 3 4 5 14b. Law enforcement 1 2 3 4 5 14c. Monitoring 1 2 3 4 5 14d. Way of treating the Fisher 1 2 3 4 5 14e. Relat. with the community 1 2 3 4 5 14f. Trust among fishers and managers 1 2 3 4 5 Thank you for answering this questionnaire! Remember that all the information provided will be kept confidential. If you have any comments, you can contact me at the "Nuevo Hotel del Golfo" or through Don Raul, the owner. 110 ANNEX II SAMPLE OF THE INTERVIEW APPLIED Thesis Project (M.Sc): Institutional Arrangements for Fisheries in Mexico: a Case Study Student: Liliana Rodriguez Interview I. Presentation Introduction II. Historia ocupacional Occupational history 1. A que se dedica? (What do you do for living?) 2. Cuantas personas de su casa se dedidan a la misma actividad, o a que otra actividad se dedican? 3. (How many people from your house work in the same activity than you, or what else do they do?) 4. Cuantos aflos lleva en esta actividad? (How many years have you been doing this?) 5. Tiene o ha tenido Usted algiin problema en relation con el gobierno, con las cooperativas o asociaciones de trabaj adores, o con los recursos en general? (Do you have or have had any problems regarding the government, the cooperatives or workers/fishers associations, or with the resources in general?) 6. Alguien de su casa ha tenido que salir a trabajar del pueblo debido a que el trabajo que hacian antes ya no es costeable? En que trabaj an ahora? (Has anyone from your home had to leave the community to work given that the activity they used to do is not enough to provide an economical income? What do they do now for living?) Solo si es pescador (only if fisher) 7. A que especies se dedica y en que temporada las pesca? (What species do you catch and when do you catch them?) 8. Que equipo emplea para cada una de ellas? (What gear do you use for each one of them?) 9. Han cambiado las regulaciones de equipos permitidos en los ultimos 5 anos? Como? (Have the gear regulations changed in the last five years? How?) 10. Como es y quien se encarga de la venta del producto pescado? I l l (How and who is in charge of the product sell and marketing?) III. Comentarios sobre el gobierno (Comments regarding government) 1. En general, siente que la manera en que el gobierno esta regulando la pesca resulta efectiva? Preguntar acerca de cada pesqueria en especifico (In general terms, Do you feel that the way the government is regulating fisheries in this area is effective?) Ask about each fishery in specific. 2. Cuales cree Usted que son algunos de los puntos debiles del gobierno que, de ser tornados en cuenta, ayudarian a mejorar la situation de la pesca en el Golfo? (Which do you think are some of the weaknesses of the government which, if overcomed, would help improve fishing activities here in EGSC?) 3. En terminos generates, cree que las vedas funcionan como una medida de regulation pesquera? (preguntar especificamente sobre pesca de camaron) (In general terms, do you think that season closures work as a fishing regulating measure? Ask especifically for shrimp fishery) 4. Que opina del monitoreo de los recursos aqui en el Golfo, le parece que es efectivo? (What do you think about the resource monitoring here in EGSC?, Do you think it is effective?) 5. Conoce como se determina la apertura y cierre de temporadas de pesca? (Do you know how the fishing closures are determined?) 6. Conoce el proceso de otorgamiento de permisos de pesca?, Que le parece? (Do you know the process for license allocation?, What do you think about it?) 7. Conoce Usted como se realiza la venta y exportation (si aplica) del producto? (Do you know how is the sell, export and marketing of the product made?) 8. Han tenido algunos representantes del gobierno aqui en El Golfo? Quienes y que es lo que hacen? (Have you had any representatives of the government here in EGSC?, Who and what do they do/did?) 9. Normalmente tienen foros de consulta o algun medio de comunicacion con representantes del gobierno? (Do you usually have a consultation process or some way of communicating with government officials?) 10. Cree Usted que los representantes del gobierno estan realmente interesados en como van las cosas aqui en el Golfo? (Do you believe that government representatives are really interested on how things are going here in EGSC?) IV. Situation de las actividades que realizan. Status of the activities they do 1. Que tal le ha ido con su trabajo en los ultimos anos? (How good or bad have your activities been in the past five years?) 2. Usted piensa que la situation estaba mejor o peor en el pasado? Porque piensa esto? 112 (Would you consider the situation in the past -in general- better or worse? Why do you think so?) 3. Su entrada economica hace cinco afios es similar a la que recibe ahora? Como cuanto cambio el porcentaje? (Are you making as much money -per month- as you did five years ago? What percentage change?) 4. Se ha sentido forzado a buscar alguna otra actividad alternativa a la que ahora tiene? Porque? (Have you felt forced to look for an alternative activity to work?, why?) 5. Acerca de los Pescadores, cual es la jerarquizacion o division entre ellos? (Regardingfishers, what is the hierarchy like?, how are they divided into categories?) Solo si es pescador (only if fisher) 7. Pertenece a alguna Cooperativa, Union o Asociacion de Pescadores? (Do you belong to any Cooperative, Union or Fishers' Association?) 8. En este momento, cuales son los beneficios que le da la cooperativa o grupo al que pertenece? (At this point, what benefit do you get from the cooperative or group that you belong to?) 9. En este momento, cuales son los principales problemas de la cooperativa o grupo al que pertenece? (At this point, what are the main problems of the cooperative or group that you belong to?) 10. En su opinion personal, que piensa sobre la situation de la pesca aqui en el Golfo? Es muy diferente de la situation en Puerto Penasco o San Felipe?, Porque? (In your personal view what do you think about the actual situation of the fisheries here in EGSC?, Is it any different from how it is in PP or SF?, Why?) 11. En general, cuales cree Usted que son los principales problemas que tiene esta comunidad? (In general, which ones do you think are the main problems for the community right now?) 12. Tienen problemas con Pescadores foraneos? (de donde?) (Do you have any problems with foreign fishers?, From where?) 13. Tienen muchos problemas con Pescadores de esta misma area? (Do you have many problems with fishers from this same area?) 14. Como mantienen control sobre quien pesca, cuando y donde (monitoreo en el cumplimiento de reglas) (How do you keep control about who fishes, when and where -monitoring and enforcement?) 15. Hay mucha pesca ilegal? Con que especies? (Is there a lot of illegal fishing? For which species?) 16. A que cree Usted que se debe? (What do you think is the case?) 17. En general, cual cree Usted que es la situation del recurso ahorita? Cree que esta sobreexplotado o que sigue normal? (In general terms, what do you think is the resource status right now?, Do you think it has been over-exploited or do you think it is as normal as always? 18. Podria comparar de alguna manera la situation actual de la pesca de la corvina con la situation de la pesca del camaron hace algunos aiios o ahora? Como? (Could you compare somehow the actual situation of the corvina fishery with that of the shrimp fishery a few years ago - or even now?) How? 113 19. Cuanto tiempo cree que pase antes de que se regule la pesca de la corvina aqui en el Golfo? Como lo estan manejando los Pescadores por mientras? (How long do you think is going to take to regulate the corvina fishery here in EGSC?, Could you tell me of some arrangements that the fishers are making in the meantime? V. Information general General Information 1. Quienes considera Usted que son algunos de los lideres de los Pescadores aqui en el Golfo? (Who do you think are some of the fishers' leaders here in EGSC) 2. Que factores cree que son los que los hacen a ellos los lideres, y no a alguien mas? (What factors do you think made him/her a leader?) 3. Son ellos lideres respetables? Porque cree que es este el caso? (Are they respected leaders? Why do you think it is the case?) 4. Cuales cree Usted que son algunas caracteristicas o dones que forman a un buen pescador? Porque piensa eso? (What do you think are some of the characteristics or gifts that make a good fisher? Why?) 5. Que tan seguro es andar en la pesca aqui en el Golfo? (How safe is it to be a fisher here in the Gulf) 6. Tienen alguna festividad especial relacionada con la pesca aqui en la comunidad? Cual es? (Do you have any special festivity related to fishing in the community? Which one?) 7. Si en una temporada le va muy bien economicamente, como administra su ingreso? (If during the season you make a good income, how do you manage it?) 8. Si pudiera ahorrar un poco de dinero hasta la proxima temporada de pesca, como cambiaria su preparation para la siguiente temporad? (Ifyou could manage to save some money until the next fishing season, how would you change the preparative for that coming season?) 114 ANNEX III DISTRIBUTION O F RESPONSES (INTERVIEWS) TRUST (3= High trust, 2= "It's ok" trust, 1= "Not really" trust, 0= "No way" trust, A= Abstains) PARTICIPANT Trust in Gvt. Officers Trust in Gvt. Regulations Trust in Fishers Fishers 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 A 0 1 2 3 Frequency 1 4 8 7 0 1 10 8 1 0 7 8 5 % 5 20 40 35 0 5 50 40 5 0 35 40 25 Local State Off. 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 A 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 % 100 100 100 Local Federal Off. 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 1 1 2 0 0 2 2 1 1 2 0 % 0 25 25 50 0 0 50 50 25 25 50 0 Outside Federal 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 0 3 1 0 % 0 0 0 100 0 0 0 100 0 75 25 0 Wives 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 2 % 0 0 66 33 0 0 33 66 0 0 33 66 2. K N O W L E D G E O F P O L I C Y (3= Well known, 2= "More or less", 1= "Not really", 0= "Nothing", A = Abstains) PARTICIPANT They know Fishing Law How much they know about closures Understand gvt. policy Fishers 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 4 7 3 6 1 7 6 5 4 8 2 6 % 20 35 15 30 5 35 30 25 20 40 10 30 Wives 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 2 1 0 % 0 0 66 33 0 33 66 0 0 66 33 0 C O M M U N I C A T I O N (3= High, 2= "Normal" , 1= "Not much", 0= No communication, A= Abstains) PARTICIPANT Gvt consults w/fishers How much comm in the coops? Accesibility to info in the community What do they think of the INP/CRIP? Fishers 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 A 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 1 1 9 0 0 9 11 0 0 12 5 3 1 4 7 8 % 0 0 55 45 0 0 45 55 0 0 60 25 15 J 20 35 40 Local State Off. 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 % 0 0 0 100 0 0 0 100 0 0 100 0 0 0 100 0 Local Federal Off 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 1 3 0 0 3 1 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 % 0 0 25 75 0 0 75 25 0 0 0 100 0 0 0 100 Outside Federal 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 % 0 0 0 100 0 0 0 100 0 0 0 100 0 0 0 100 Wives 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 A 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 2 0 1 0 3 0 0 % 0 0 100 0 0 0 0 100 0 0 66 0 33 0 100 0 0 EFFECTIVENESS OF FISHERS AS RM (3= High, 2= "Normal", 1= "Not much", 0= No, A= Abstains) PARTICIPANT Mgt Approaches are openly discussed Fishers Associations are strong and reliable Records suggests that the resource is healthy Conflict is low among local fishers Fishers 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 1 10 9 1 1 8 10 0 6 13 1 0 0 6 14 % 0 5 50 45 5 5 40 50 0 30 65 5 0 0 30 70 Local State Off. 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 % 0 0 0 100 0 0 100 0 0 0 100 0 0 0 0 100 Local Federal Off 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 4 0 0 1 2 1 0 1 3 0 0 0 3 1 % 0 0 100 0 0 25 50 25 0 25 75 0 0 0 15 5 Outside Federal 0 1 2 3 A 0 1 2 3 A 0 1 2 3 A 0 1 2 3 A Frequency 0 0 0 2 2 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 2 % 0 0 0 50 50 0 25 25 0 50 0 0 50 0 50 0 25 25 0 50 Wives 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 Frequency 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 3 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 3 % 0 0 66 33 0 0 0 100 0 33 66 0 0 0 0 100 117 00 c/1 ea o Z * 6 W c 2 i Z 13 ti -o t s H Z ti CO > o o ti o t/5 <Z) ti z ti > H U ti ti ti ti J 3 .23 _ "3 4) i _ M § > Si © .S ea S g -g £ Q » ? 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These responses have been categorized into the five different themes used throughout the thesis: trust, knowledge of policies/regulations/laws, communication, effectiveness of government as resource manager, and effectiveness of fishers as fisheries managers. Since it is almost impossible to have all the themes in the same page (in a legible font) the first part includes only the 'trust' and 'knowledge' sections for the twenty fishers. The second part includes the 'communications' and 'effectiveness of government' themes for the twenty fishers, and the last section presents the 'effectiveness of fishers' theme categorized for the 20 fishers. ID # Trust Knowledge 1 "I feel confident on how the co-operatives manage their issues. I believe the government is really interested in how we are doing". "The government officials work well and I like what they do: when there are rumors of a fisher having a different mesh size (which is illegal), we tell the PROFEPA guy and he goes and checks if the rumor is true or not and we believe what he says. We trust in him and don't doubt about his decisions, etc". "I don't think they (government officials)are too corrupted, just the normal". "I know almost nothing of the fisheries law". About the closures I don't know the process of how this is determined but I do know when the animals are out there and the closure is dictated by the same animals". "I know a bit about the law in the sense that I do know that the shrimp trawlers are doing illegal fishing because they are intruding on the biosphere reserve. They are fisihing on depths they shouldn't". "I am not from here but I arrived many years ago so my kids are Golfenos (born in E l Golfo). The first thing I learnt is when to fish what, because my concufio (his sister in law's husband) told me.. .because I used to work for him. If he had not told me? Well, I would have realised it because of the big mess that happens before each season. Listen, here, before we learn how to say "father" we learn how to say "shrimp". "Everybody knows when it is ready to be caught and when it is time to let it rest". "I know nothing about how vedas (closures) are chosen but that does not matter because it is the product itself who marks the closure". "Usually people let it (shrimp) rest when it starts coming out with the patch (the eggs), because well, we should let it reproduce so we can have a good season next year. Nobody buys the shrimp with patch". 119 2 "I trust the government regulations because the seasons are most of the time well established and the government seems to have the will to monitor that we comply the rules and, and also they care about how we feel about the issues that happen in town. But to tell you the truth, I do not really trust anybody that is working for the government, nor I trust the fishers that are leaders in the co-operatives: there are too many rats sitting behind the desks. Not even when the co-operatives seem to be very successful nowadays". "The fishers work fine, we don't have too many problems, just the normal". "I don't have a problem working with other fishers, they are honest with me and in the co-operative too." He says he knows "more or less" the Fishing policies but not a lot of the Fishing Law (but at least he knows that it is different a policy to a law - he knows they are not the same). He said "I know a bit the Fishing Law but I feel I know more about the policies in place for this region. I also know how to do the marketing of the product, how the licenses should be requested". "The government dictates the law but we know much more than them, so when they come to 'tell us something' we already knew about it (he is referring to the official season closures and opennings)". "The trawler has a small mesh (opening) that by being pulled by the panga closes a bit more, leaving the mesh opening even smaller, therefore catching shrimp of every size. With the drift net there is no such problem because the mesh does not closes almost anything, and then what happens is that it catches bigger shrimp". 3 "I think the closures and the regulations that the government establishes are good and much needed by fishers and I think they do it to help us and I think that is good". "Government employees come over to town and try to explain the Fishing Law to us". An example fisher 3 gave was that "the law is very needed for many reasons that you can tell the government needs to fill in. Simply put, all the 'shrimp leak' (he is referring to shrimp that leaves the community without being registered - black marketed) which goes without receipt and all that, that a lot of people are coming to town to fish and then they leave, and for the fisher there is nothing left". He thinks the law can help with this problems. "On the other hand, nowadays you can't trust any public servant: you can see what happened to Clinton...he will be kicked out!"."l think the biosphere reserve is very useful and I trust it is going to be beneficial for fishers". "I don't know why the reserve was created, I, to tell you the truth, never understood" "I almost know nothing about the Fisheries Law". "No, nothing, and let me tell you that I was part of a co-operative board in Puerto Penasco, and yet I don't know much about that Law. But I never had any problems because of that". "My colleagues were the ones in charge of those things and telling others what to do when". I know a bit about the closures but I wait until somebody tells me that I can go out and fish, because I know more or less when are they opening and closing the season, but that's as far as I get". "I only know that the biosphere reserve is to protect this little animal,.... the vaquita, and to stop fishers from catching totoaba" 4 This young fisher trusts in the government but doesn't agree with the fact that sometimes it works with some people and it doesn't work with other (support). "They care for some but they don't care for others". "I think they target the right issues and they make the right decisions, but I don't like it when they tell us not to do something because, well, what alternative do they give us? They tell us to stop doing something but they don't provide an alternative activity". "I wouldn't like to see the fishery only in hands of the fishers because it would not work. We need the government intervention to put some order because we can't do it on our own, I think". "Yes, I know quite a bit about the closures but I have no idea about the rest of the regulations or the law, but I'm sure they are good. It has worked so far". He knows about the creation of the biosphere reserve but he is not sure about why it was created. "I would be interested in learning about the Fisheries Law, I don't know why I haven't done it". "I would like to know for example what are the sanctions of not following the closure season, or which actions are used to force the enforcement of the law". 120 5 I trust very much in the government officials and I think that they are interested in our situation and our problems, and in how the fishery is going in this community. And, well, of course, I also believe that the regulations given for the fishing activities are good". "I believe in fishers are capable to follow what the government dictates and also to handle many fishing situations by themselves. Above all I trust fully in the board of directors of my co-operative. I know they do all that they can to have the fisher happy and to make things easier for us". I have no idea of what the Fisheries Law says". "I don't know a thing about it but who cares, because the President in our co-operative is the one who should know and not me. Our President is very good". "But I know a lot about the season closures and openings, and I also know about the working areas given to the large-scale vessels". "I don't understand or know exactly why government does one or other thing, but I think they have been good so far, so I don't see a problem in the management". 6 He is the co-operative's president and that is one of the reasons, he says, why he gets along with everybody in government. "Government officials support us quite a bit and I sincerely trust in them in order to do a better work for the co-operative and its members". "I also trust fishers from our co-operative, and in the other fishers I really don't know, but fishers from 'El Tornillal' (the co-operative) respond very well". "Government regulations seem appropriate for our fishery, excepting the fact that they (the government) still allow large boats to get in the buffer zone of the reserve". "Outside government officials are also supportive of our work and needs and every once in a while they come over and visit the community". "I, as a co-operative's president, know the Fishing Law very well and also the regulations. I also know well about the closures, maybe more than many other fishers". He seems to understand well why the government decides to establish some regulations and norms and he thinks they are appropriate for the fishery management. "I, as the co-operative president, also have more power, more voice, when it comes to dealing with outside government officials". "We follow the animals that are ready and, well, in September we hit the shrimp, and depending on how much is caught, around December-January we may start getting ready for the curvina, which comes to spawn in the delta and we have to catch it in the runs, preferentially on the run back, when it is empty, but when there are lots of pangas, well, we have to hit it any time we can. Here, i f you don't throw yourself to it you don't eat" ... " O f course we don't like catching it when it is fat (meaning before spawning) but you know the saying: i f my grandma has to die or I have to die, then my grandma will die..." "If we don't watch it, the bunch of pangas from the outside would come here and get the resource before we notice it, and that is not fair because it sells well. That is why the government should avoid the entrance of more boats from outside so we can get a better chance to do things as they should, right? taking care of the resource". 121 7 He is one of the fishers that has been in the community for a longer time. Even when he gets along with the government officials he says that he doesn't fully trust in them. " I like the outside government officials much less...but I listen to them with more care. They have more power than our officials". "I think the regulations that the government has created to regulate the fishery here in our community are appropriate and we need them much, but, I could say that, well, we need more, the government needs to be more careful of what we need here. They have to give us priority". "Although I don't trust the government officials from Mexico and Guaymas, I do live in the hope that some day they will listen to us". "Fishers deserve all our trust, but I feel that me and my colleagues from an approximate age, know more, much more than those young man that go and fish now a days". "The new fishers need a guide, they need leadership. I trust much more in an older fisher than a younger one". "The new fishers, that is what you should watch" (meaning 'watch out' beware of). Know the Fisheries Law very well, as well as the regulations and policies. He has been a fisher for many years and he is actually the President of one of the co-operatives. "To decide when we want the season opened there are some consultations with fishers and then we reach an agreement, although with the biosphere reserve management plan it has been established as a fixed date September the 15th, but this can still be negotiated with the fishers. And, yes, this is somehow problematic because i f the fisher wants the season openning delayed they won't ask for it because it would be like fishing less days and that means more shrimp for the large boats, because the fisher knows that the large boats will not start delayed. It is much better to have a time for ourselves". "I do understand the law and I know well about the closures and also the Fisheries Law". "I understand the government politics but I don't agree that the reserve had been declared and there is just some text in there, it is not working. Just words, words, words, it is half way through". 8 "I do trust one hundred percent in the government officials, and I actually see them more like friends, right? more than friends than authorities and well, if they change the officials the ones now, my opinion could change too". "The fishers are also worth the trust but not so much. There are many fishers that I don't like to work with. I rather be with my family members, with my dad especially, because the others get mad very easily...they get upset at me and scream to me, and I don't like that". "I don't know the Fisheries Law". "I don't know the fishing policies". "I know nothing on the closures". "My dad is always the one who informs me if we are going out fishing or not. He is the one who can tell me what can be done or what cannot be done". 9 This fisher was a president of one of the co-operatives. "I had a lot of communication with the officials, I had no problems with them". "I believe they are good persons and they do good community work". "Yes, you can trust in the outside officials too, they are good too and are interested in the community's situation. The fact that there are visits from they guys from Mexico and Guaymas makes us feel important. It is like they take us more into consideration". "You know that Ocean Garden, that enterprise is from the government, well, we try to work with the government and avoid working outside the line. It is comfortable to work with them". "I used a lot the support that government officials gave me to make fishers understand about regulations and the Fisheries Law". "Fishers are honest and work well, but yes, it happens, many fishers are 'stone heads'". "I don't have a problem talking or explaining the Fisheries Law. For being president of the co-operative I know the regulations well and the closures, but before, I did not know them". "I learnt the hard way, with some trippings". 122 10 "Nothing that smells like government can be good, you can't just believe what they say and worse, even worse, fishers sell themselves and buy the officials". "I don't speak to many fishers here, well, I am old, I know. I don't go out often, I have to take care of this kids, but I don't like seeing those rich fishers that left nothing to me when they sold the big boats". "The fisheries official seems to be good but you know them, a little bit of money, one or two favors from the fishers and there you go, you'll have to serve them". "Fisheries officials are not impartial, they are leaning always to the side of fishers with money or resources to help them". "If I knew something (of the Fisheries Law) I would not have been as I am now". "We were made a fraud and the co-operative stole from us, and the government covered the co-operative, and we did not know what was going on, I guess i f we had known the law - but again, you need power, not only knowledge of the law". "(If we had known the law) we would have been able to do something to protect us, to claim our rights, our portion of the sell of the boats". "I can't read very well but I survive with what I know...". "I learnt to read when I was old". "I am no longer a real fisher, because I go into the water very seldom. I am hurt from my back and it is painful when I am in the "jumpy" boats (the skipboats), but I knew how to operate the boats, I knew where to go, where to find the animals. My brother was in a boat too and he was very good, but he lived in a different community, in Penasco. He was very good. You need a lot of experience to be a successful boat crew". 11 "We are happy working with our co-operative because it works very well and we help each other". "The government officials have helped us a lot". "When we have some problems we just ask the PROFEPA guy or the fisheries official. Although they sometimes don't know the answer either we can work it out together". "Everyonce in a while you have the official that makes himself blind to things that are going on, but they try to stay out of it and that isgood. Only i f there was something big is when they should intervente, don't you think?". "My father is good although he is old. The older fishers are good and they are oldfashined but they know what they are doing. I always rectify my decisions with them because I trust them and I know they have more experience than me". "I have a fair knowledge of the Fisheries Law". "I don't really know about the sanctions and things like that but I know when to go fishing shrimp, when to go for curvina, how to find it, things like that. Not everything is in the 'books' and actually the best way to learn about fishing skills is by experiencing it and sticking to an older fisher". "I think most people around here would not know a thing on the fishing law if they were asked about it, but I think most of them would be good to take you fishing to the right spot at the right time". "I started when I was a little boy, always with my dad and my uncles. M y cousing also. He doesn't know much because he is younger but that is fine in the meantime. We have a co-operative president to watch over our interests, so what is the big rush?". 12 "You have many things around here, many things, you don't know who you can trust and who you can't and well, you know the government, depending on who is riding the show you will get the best or the worse cases, but who knows". "They are fine now, but other times we have had really bad officials, so it depends in our luck, in what we get sent to this remote town". "There are many benefits of being in a co-operative and we exploit them very well. Our leaders are good, sometimes to picky but I guess that is better than when you have somebody that does not care about anything and only spends his time doing things for he and his family, but the guy in charge now is really good. Our shrimp is in good hands with him". "My kids don't fish yet, they are still young but they know the fisheries officials' kids and they say the are good persons, so we think the same too". "There are some fishers that are good-for-nothing and of course I would not even give them money to buy me a coke because I know they would lose "I don't know the Fisheries Law very well but so what, the important thing is that the president of the co-operative knows it". "Nobody teaches you that. You learn it when you become a President or Secretary". This fishers has been fishing for 28 years in this community. "That is why we have the general assemblies. There, when one has a doubt (we) just go and ask them, and well, i f those in the board of directors don't know, somebody else will give us a hand". 123 13 "I am very trustful of the co-operatives, they work very well and the directors are good". "Usually the fishers is not bad, they all have good hearts and i f they start something that is bad, a bad action, they usually go back and amend it. That happens to me a lot, here you can't be mean to people because, well, we are all like a family, or others are like family of your friends, and things like that". "I think fishers in the community are good and they have a good mind for the fishery, they are good at fishing but they also think about how to conserve the resource for the most time". "We have a lot of support from government and honestly I think they are very important in our lives, they do things for us, explain things to us, i f they find something that is being done wrong they come and correct us. You can trust those guys". "Above all, I feel very safe knowing that I count on the government guys at any moment". "The closure season, well, we have everything here, sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad, but let me tell you that in general it is ok. We want some more days or some less days for the openings and closures but that does not really make a difference because there are so many factors that go on for the fishery, so we get even very soon. I think the government does a good job (establishing the closures)". "I particularly don't know much about it (Fisheries Law) and I am not ashamed although I know that by my age I should have known something. But they (government) always change things anyway!, who wants to have to keep up with all those things. I don't, especially because I am in a co-operative and well, you know already that they are the ones that are in charge of representing us therefore they are the ones who have to know it". "I trust in them, so they can represent me properly". "There is a lot of wisdom in this community, although most of us don't know the Law, and I don't say it because of me, we're fool, but there are many other fishers that are worth their weight in gold, and we always consult with them. You have this little old man that has been here since the foundation of town, and he will never let a storm or widn slip in his boat, he always warns us". "I know when the closures seasons are and all that, but from there and on it is not my real business. Life is to take it easy 14 "Yes, I like the government officials. They are fine". "Well, that if the government is telling us something it usually has a good outcome. At least that is what my little experience says". "Of course I trust fishers. That is why I came back to this community". "I used to live and work in the United States but it is a hard life, so I decided to come here. They helped me to come back and you know, they are my friends, usually they are there to help". "Outsiders no, I don't really hang out with them, and if I do is for some drinks, but that does not mean that all they say it is true or I believe, just as they shouldn't believe all I say or promise to do!". "Because I really don't care for outsiders and they don't care for me, but fishers in the community usually adopt you i f you are from here. I was away for many years but I came back and I am still from here!" "Not much.. .not at al l . . . I told you I just came back so I have to start from cero". "I was in touch with the others (fishers) and they keep me posted of the good and bad seasons, that is why I decided to come. I hear that the shrimp is doing good, so I am here to catch shrimp. I will go with this guy (another fisher) in his boat because he has experience and he knows how to 'read' the shrimp in the water, so I think that is going to be good. He is a real fisher and has experience, so he knows what he is doing". "This guy has no clue about the fisheries law. I don't even know he can read more than two lines without stopping! - But that is not a major obstacle because i f there was something important concerning laws or regulations the co-operative would let us know". "If you don't have a co-operative you're gone. They are a good link between government and fishers". 124 15 " "The government is fine, I guess you can't expect more, it is the government, but they do a pretty good job around here". "Because they seem to know what they are talking about and at the same time they are not bothering you all day with do this, do that, don't do this, etc. They tell us suggestions of how to do things and don't usually get upset at us i f we don't do them quick". "Fishers are good, some of them, most of them but sometimes there are familiar interests and it doesn't work well". "You can trust your family but then they abuse too and they want you to be a slave". "It is good, in the end is good and things get done well, but sometimes it is hard to deal with your political family. They lose the focus of a co-operative". "I had some problems in my current co-operative because I performed really poorly this year and I want to leave it, but it is my family one". "My wife's brothers and parents are in the co-operative and that does not help. I don't trust them because they don't like me and thus want to do rotten things to me. That is why I'm talking with some friends to see if I can switch co-operatives". "I trust my friends very much, more than my political family" "I know a bit of the law and I have years of experience. It has been many years since I got here. I grew up here although I'm from the ejido nearby". "I have lots of experience and that is the most important thing. The laws are for those that lead the co-operative, but I am practical, and that is how I survive as a fisher, not by learning the laws, but by learning the sea, the fisher's live". "Of course, of course I know about the closures and the basics of the things to do in order to be left alone by the fisheries officials". "I mean that you have to learn the things that are really bad so you don't do them. I ask if I need help or i f I'm in doubt". 16 "Yes, I have been in this community forever. I was born and raised here and my family has been always a fishers family. M y grandfather drowned in this waters, that is why the little bay is called "chayo", like him". "No doubt, this is the best community in the area. Fishers are respectfull of each other and we deal with the government in a good way too". "Usually we tell them if there is a problem, and then the government proposes a solution, and they are often right. We tend to follow their advise and they seem to do it in a good hearted way. Not with lateral interests. Although we have had them, those people. You know, they take bribes and they are all biased helping a group and not the other. But not the present guys". "People here complain a lot about the government but they do so because it is a habit, not because they really mean to. The government has worked well with our community". "I know it by heart (The Law). M y family is a fishers family, and my co-operative is owned by my family. An we have always been presidents of the co-operative, so we start learning when our fathers are in the board of directors". "We also try to relate a lot with the government, to interact with them as much as possible, here, in Mexico, in Guaymas, because it is a way of learning about the process and about the needs of the sector". "There are two main components to be a successful fisher: to know what you're doing while in the water, how to get the most, the better animals, and to know if what you're doing is legal. If you do that, you are out of problems". "I have years of experience and I am preparing one of my sons to become President of the co-operative. That is, i f the fishers want him, but they do because they know he is being prepared". "Yes, in general I agree that fishers here know what they are doing. They may not know the laws or specific regulations but they know how to be a good fisher, and they listen, which covers their lack of knowledge in Law and regulations". 125 17 "I think they (fisheries officials) are good and they always support us. We would not make it without them". "Also people from outside come and tell us and gather us all together and tell us. They try to explain everything and the thing on the closures and other things". "The fisheries official would not come and bother me without warning me or explaining me what I am doing wrong... also in the co-operatives they tell me and I follow, right? you can't just behave as i f it was only you", "..the main authority for fisheries management here in E l Golfo is the fisheries official. He is the one who has the last work". "When we have some differences with our colleagues he always comes and help us. He is always more neutral and centered". "People here talk about corruption and things like that, but don't tell me they are not corrupted (referring to other fishers). They are also long-handed people, and that is fine, right? as long as you do your work". "Fishers here in town get along with each other and I feel they work well together, that is why even when things are difficult at time it can be said that it is a successful fishery". "No. I don't know the fishing law. I don't even know how to read! But in the cooperative they explain to us some things so we don't lose our track (meaning go in the wrong way)" "Well, let me tell you in matters of, for example, winds, rainstorms, things like that, I do have extensive knowledge. I have never had an (bad) incident in the ocean... this is the most important thing that a fisher should know" 18 "well, I am the co-operative's president, I get along with the government officials very well and I trust in them and I use their support a lot. Especially because I travel to Mexico often, and to Guaymas, so I'm in touch with them". "It appears to me that the regulations and the laws established for the fisheries management are good". "I trust in the fishers of this community (although, I must say, that my personal impression is that most fishers dislike this guy)". It contradicts some of his comments and explanations: "Well, efVen with your eyes closed there is a really dep corruption going on, because, naturally, i f it was halted or i f denounces started to be made agains the illegal fishery, then the rest of the fishers would say 'well, it is getting tough to do things the wrong way' 1 and for acting naturally good, well naturally too would be our job". "Of course, there are always people of every kind, when they see the opportunity they continue to grow against established institutions and regulations" This fisher knows the Fisheries Law by memory and has studied it. Also the regulations. He is perhaps the only, or one of the few, fisher who knows the government system and goes beyond the text of the Law. "I know the biosphere reserve management plan and I know what is going on, what goes in and what gets taken out". "I have tried to become the President of the 'co-operatives confederation' (but the other fishers don't recognise him as this), which would be the organism that would represent all the co-operatives from town, but the people in this community has not responded very well". "I feel the government should review the policies on closures for tototaba because, for example, there are no scientific studies of what exactly happened to this species". This fisher knows well how politics are conducted locally and nationally. He seems to know what is beyond the co-operatives management and the trends per six-years (the range of time that Presidents last in power), which are always very important in Mexico. "They sent people from S E M A R N A P to see if we really needed the premits (licenses). The permits were given in a limited fashion because of the reason of the authority not having clear the issue of the legal status of the solicitors. They even left a lot of people out (without permits), because at some point in time, for example, the 'co-operativism' went down, and now the new regimen (the actual Presidne't policy) was taken again. Then this all happened in a lapse of 5-6 years when the co-operativism fell down. It picked up again. When the permits are requested, we, the management organisms don't have very clear how many of use are there. Then they deliver licenses in very limited terms, very few fishers get it". "We do our management through our representatives from district V of the State of Sonora". 126 19 This participant is also one of the strongest voices in town. "The government officials in El Golfo are fine but you can't really trust in them. There are many interests in the middle and it is hard for them to hide them. Sometimes they are good, but you know, things are like that. They are kind of 'slow', they don't work hard. I guess they are better than many other government officials, for example I see in other fishing towns, uou, it is really notorious that they are kings and do whatever they want and they are, they help whoever they want". "I don't trust in the government officials that are in Guaymas, they well, how can I explain, I don't know if they are too corrupted but I know that, they are not very into us...they don't really know us and they have not been here in a long time. I don't think they care for us too much. They kind of ignore us". "Well, still, my co-operative and I, we get a lot of support from the local officials, and we often submit complaints and we often ask for help from Mexico, just as other co-operatives". "The regulations that the government has established are good, they are good, they serve its purpose but they really get it wrong with the closure times sometime, because they open very quickly. They should wait some times". "I just can't understand why the government is still allowing large-scale boats in the biosphere reserve zone". "We do go inside the reserve but because we are part of the reserve. But we only go to the nucleus area". "Fishers here in the community are good, they are capable and if they want the can run the game without the government, and well, it is always good to have the government presence but I'm sure they can. They could probably do a better job with the product". "I know the Fisheries Law more or less because I have been fishing for many years and even my family has created its own co-operative". "With regards to the closures, they are good, they are well established but sometimes they are totally wrong. Not a lot of times, but it would be good if the government could wait a few more days, a couple or weeks or so to open the season. We know the resource around here and we know that sometimes, well, the shrimp is not ready to come out. Well, it is, but i f we wait a bit we will get much better prices because we give it a chance to grow up. Sometimes you get the nets and you have all those tiny things hanging from it". "They are not baby shrimps but they haven't reached its maximum size". "How do the closures get established? have you asked them? just because the National Fisheries Institute makes a bit of sampling here and there they decide it is ready. No, that is not enough, they don't go to the main areas where you can still find small shrimp. Otherwise they would wait a few days more. And then, everybody in Puerto Penasco is fighting with each other because they want to be the ones doing the sampling". "It was not like that before, now it has become a whole political event. There used to be more consensus, yes, I know that now they ask us more things but before they were more targeted with dates". "I have been here many years and I have learned many many things that only the years can give you". 20 "I think here the things are fine because well, I think they (government officials) are good and they try hard". "I like them and I trust them, I have no problem with that. They are good". "The people who know the Fisheries Law better are the directors of the co-operatives, they have to know it but, I also know a little bit about it, I have learnt". "Many people don't know it because they don't know how to read, but I think that younger fishers tend to know it a bit better because at least we can sit and read it". "The closures are well established and they seem to follow the way the resource comes to the waters (meaning fising season for each species). You have the shrimp, the chano, curvina, and then the few species of the louse season, you know, the mackerel, manta, and so on". "In the co-operative we know about the shrimp more than anything else because it has always been our main catch and we have to understand how it behaves, how to go and get it, how to smell it from the pangas. It is not that easy and that is not taught in school". "When I started fishing I had no clue of how to search for shrimp, I was only following the others but now I can tell better where is going to 'hang' so I go and throw the line there". "For me the person who knows more about fisheries is the oldest fisher in town. He does not go out in boats anymore because he is sore, but if you ask him about anything related to the animals, he can answer it". "I don't know if he knows 127 about the Law, but man, that is not the most important thing, the challenge is out there, in the water". 128 I D # Communication Effectiveness Gvt 1 "Government people come and explain to us how things are going and well, they come to chat with us. But they don't come to tell us how the closures are determined". "I think that the government pays attention to when the product dictates the closures and that way they determine the official closure. I don't know". "In the co-operatives we don't have problems to say what we think or what we want to know. We have our General Assembly and we speak there"." Most of us (members) go to the assembly and it is in our interest to do so because that way we know what is going on and we can ask all our doubts and all that". " "There are no problems with local fishers and very few with outside fishers". "I don't really want the trawlers fishing in EGSC, that is a problem". "I am very happy with the way the fishery is managed, especially I am happy with the shrimp marketing by Ocean Garden". "When there was a lack of shrimp at the end of the 1980's-beginning of 1990's it was because the flow of freshwater from the Colorado river was cut"." I am happy with the way the closures run but I don't like that they run at different times than those of the large-scale fleet". "There is some illegal fishing in EGSC but it is not a problem". "When people from the government come and explain to us about fishing techniques, new regulations, etc, some times we don't agree with what they say, but we keep talking with them until we reach an agreement" (for example, this fisher commented that the government did not want the fishers to work with a mesh opening of 2 3/4 in but finally they (government) accepted it. Also, he said the government did not want fisher to pick up clams because they would extinguish, but finally they decided to let fishers continue picking up clams). 2 "Yes, sometimes there are government officials around here supposedly trying to explain regulations and stuff like that to us". "Anyway, we through them to the lions". This fisher speaks a lot about how he is not going to obey the laws, the officials, etc., but does not seem to have a defined comlaint or disagreement with the government, que no les va a hacer caso. :"I usually am in touch with the fisheries officials and the PROFEPA guy, and we have , well, good,or at least normal, communication with them regarding what to do about the monitoring, when foreign fishers are in the area, and so on". "I don't have major problems with anybody". "The equipment has been changing through time, so we first had the 'changuero', then the drift net". "I am happy with the closures but I do get mad about the boats closure season, which is after ours (the pangas)". "I wouldn't say there is a log of illegal shrimp selling because everything has to leave paid and with a receipt note". "At the national level I feel the resources are over-exploited because there are just too many boats but, I would think that, I don't feel the resource here is about to become extinct or anything like that". "I think it is a key thing to let the species rest". I believe the regulations and all those things are more or less well established, but I still think that they are the ones making and deciding which laws for the fishery but we are more knowledgeable than us". We obey the law only if we want to. The fishery has improved in the last 5 years but what we get in economical terms is basically the same"(he means that he is basically able to afford the same things than 5 years ago even when he is making more money)" 129 3 "The government does a fair amount of consultation and talk with us, and they also explain things to us, and we also have the co-operatives to tell us what to do, and they also tell us what we can not do". "I like the way co-operatives work and I am very interested in what is done in the co-operatives". "It is easy to get information in town... You just go and ask and they tell you, yes, it is really easy, it has never been otherwise". "I don't know what the National Fisheries Institute is supposed to do or how it works. I don't know much about this Institute but I think their decisions are good". "I trust the National Fisheries Institute". "I know that they do the analysis to see when will we be able to go out and fish". "The resource is more or less over-exploited". "I mean, we don't give it a chance to recover and we, well, sometimes take more than what it can handle". "The resource is really wise and it disappears and then it appears some other years". "I think the shrimp fishery is well managed, because well, people have to make a living, people have to keep fishing, otherwise, what are they going to live from?. The authorities have to watch over the resource, and they also tell us to watch the resource because i f not we will run out of it; and I believe them". "The government people listen to us, they care for us and they take into account our needs. There are not many problems among fishers -because of the fishing activities, right?, because they do fight for woman, kids, things like that - usually the law is followed although there is always the odd one that 'skipps the law' (meaning that disobeys)". He mentions that in general the law, as prescribed by the government, and those practiced by fishrs are very similar i f not the same. "Before we used to fish with a different type of mesh and it was different technique, but since they were damaging for the environment we had to change them for the drift nets. Yes, it is a big difference and everybody is very happy about it. 4 "Ah, the communication in the co-operatives is very good, and it is also good the way things are managed in the co-operative with respect to relationship with government officials, for example, requesting fishing licenses, supports, talks, etc". "What I don't like a lot is that the communication is better with some people than with other, but I guess this is normal". "Government representatives call for meetings in order to come to an agreement with fishers on how to do things". "In the community it is very easy to know information related to the fishing activities, although I have never needed to request such information. Just with what they tell me it is fine, I don't need more". "I feel that the regulations given by the government do not support those that we have established to work and maybe, well, maybe that is why many people do things different to what the government law says. But it does not affect us because anyway the resource has stayed 'healthy' and we can continue fishing". "We (in his family) usually have no problems with fishers, but sometimes other fishers steal parts from our (panga's) motor and that really hurts. It makes me really mad. There should be more security around here". "I think that in general the fishing resources in the community are well managed and, well, although the government is very slow in giving us the licenses, the monitoring of the resources is good. The relationship with the authorities is also good". "The closures are well established but honestly I feel, but this is my personal opinion, that the season should be opened lately, maybe in the beginning of October, insted of in September the 15th)". 130 5 "I think it is very good that the government always consults with us before a change comes into place or before there is a modification in the regulations". "Sometimes they consult with our directors, but that is enough because anyway they are the ones who know the law and regulations". "I feel there is a lot of communication between the authorities and our co-operatives director, and I am not sure but I think also there is a good communication with the other co-operatives and the options are always discussed by all fishers". "I always attend the meetings, but I don't feel that many of the other fishers in our co-operative attend them, but it does not matter because when not all the members are there anyway we make the decisions". "I think that the National Fisheries Institute takes good samples to decide whether or not to open the season, although I am conscious that the large-scale vesseel owners are very powerful and the have a lot of influence in the decisions made". "I am very satisfied with the marketing of the shrimp through the Ocean garden. I think they give us the best possible prices". "I do see some problems in the community but I don't think it is too bad. We solve them ourselves very easily". "I don't think it is fair that the boats (large -scale) continue fishing in the buffer zone of the biosphere reserve". Regarding the closures he made some comments saying last year's season was not well established but he feels this year was much better. "I like the idea that the boats (large scale) close after the small-scale fishery, it does not affect us too much. But many people complain. It is good for us because when the government closes the season for us at the same time they close the buffer zone to the large boats and they are doing more monitoring and are stronger in applying the law". "I like having government representatives to our meetings and I like them because they are good with the licensing process although they are very slow". "I trust the PROFEPOS (the environment protection guy. It is actually one but he is always accompanied by a student that is writting his thesis in that community, so he is considered part of the PROFEPA) because they are very good to kick out illegal fishers and you know, fishers that are not part of our group, and I think that is because the government is very interested in our problems here, for this community". "There is not a lot of illegal fishing because the licenses serve as a good tool to regulate. Some fishers don't follow this tools, but it is not too bad". "However, I feel that the government representatives are understanding about our community needs, and the regulations support our fishing practices, because in those regulations are based all of our activities and the fishers' and co-operative's behaviour". 6 "Well, I do feel the government involves us enough when making decisions; not always, but it is a positive action and we get along with the government officials from here (El Golfo) and have very good communication with them". "The access to information is very open, we just need to tell the officials and that is it, we just ask for it". In the co-operative we always give the notice when there are meetings with the fisheries official or with people from outside, and the associates (members) also have a good communication with the co-operative's board of directors". "I don't know i f such is the case in other co-operatives, I think so, though". "The co-operative always takes into account the fisher's needs". "We don't have a directc relationship, we are not in direct touch with the National Fisheries Institute, but through the local government officials we get the news of issues that will have an effect in our activities as, for example, issues related to gear, closures, status of the product, etc". Puerto Penasco because the co-operative is too large and the processing plant in the community is very small), we are very satisfied with all the things. He says that the expenses go up a bit because they have to transport the shrimp at their cost, but he said that it is definitely worth it because it has happened that i f they don't take it to Puerto Penasco the shrimp becomes bad because it is not properly stored. It gets "stained" and then they have to sell it at a much lower price. "I think the government should try to be more organised with regards to the licenses. That is what happens, that the licenses are given only at certain times and they are not enough any more. They have not understood that the population is growing and then they need more permits. Why? Because our kids are old enough and then have to go and fish, and the co-operative grows. And the kid, i f it is a fisher's kid, he will also become a fisher, most of them". That is why there are so many pangas without a permit but which are registered in the fisheries office and have licenses being in process. They lack a permit but...you know, they have to work because they have a family"... He is of the opinion that in the future they will have to take better care of 131 the product but that it wouldn't be a solution to say 'lets stop the growth' because the population will not stop growing. "If we were to say 'lets close the circle', it is 60 of us and no more anymore, I think, what is going to happen? we wil l continue growing! and of course it would become a social conflict because others would ask us 'why are you so selfish?, just because you got here earlier than us? Well, we're also mexicans and here we were born and we have a family; we have to live from the resource'. That is what they would say in a given situation". "The government regulations seem vey good, excepting the trawlers in the buffer zone. It is supposed to be a biosphere reserve and it should be there to protect the resource. They waste more shrimp than the one they take advantage o f . The biosphere reserve, he thinks, has served more or less good: "not too much, not too little. The management plan is really good. The only thing left is to apply that plan, but it looks good in paper so far. "It would be so nice i f it was like that". "We can't complain about the catches. They have been more or less stable for most of the time". 7 "Ah, I could say that I get along with every government officials, either local or foreign. Let me tell you, our co-operative is the one with more communication with government officials; more than any other one, perhaps because we were the first co-operative in E l Golfo, and for much time it was the only co-operative for large-scale boats". "Now we only have pangas and when we became from boats to pangas we needed a lot of advise from the government". " The government comes and consults with us for decision making, although not always it is taking into account when making the final decision". "However, in general, in this community there is a very good communication system. The co-operative's members are always informed, although just a few attend the meetings, and I don't know, when there are meetings for voting or for decision-making you call an assembly meeting. If the fishers don't show up it is still going to happen, our voting or decisions will be made. There are no second chances, which I think is fare". "I know fairly well how the Fisheries Institute works but Doroteo (the co-operative's president) knows much more. He is the authority for those kind of things". He made the comment that before (in other years) the licenses paperwork was very different and supposedly nowadays it is supposed to be easier. Before "it was all a same voice, all fishers, all from this region". "Years ago the fishery was much better but you couldn't sell your product as you do it now, and you couldn't get the same good prices that you get now". "I consider the fishers as having a good support from the government, especially when it comes to organising themselves in co-operatives". "In negative terms, what is happening is that, there is a biosphere reserve going on here and it is only halfway through!. What we need is to determine once and for all what does that mean because, I don't know if for good or for bad, to us, fishers, it has been good for us here in the community. It is very good, it is a good division because it gives the product a chance to restore, to reproduce" "Well, they say that the closures seasons are going to be regionalised by areas, then, I think, that would be really good because everybody would know well (where to go fishing). For example, this year we should have stopped earlier. But then what? We stop and the other co-operatives still go out? Then, we need the support of all the fishers in one same way, to establish the closures more convenient for the resource and for ourselves. Because the closures, this is the first year that it starts the season where there is an agreement to open it from September the 15th to February the 15th. Then, i f there is a way to make it longer or shorter, well, at least you've got the priviledge to do so here in the buffer area given that the biosphere issue is in place, right?..." "Regulations are in line with our way of managing the fishery and so the fishers can follow those regulations. The only problam that happens is that with many foreigners there is a whole new population during the good season, and then all the left overs again. It is us". "We suffered from a change of technology in a different way than most fishers, because our co-operative was made of large-scale boats and know we 132 are pangas". "The change (in technology) was voluntary and it happened because we realised that it was not good for the resource". I don't personally think this was too voluntarily because of the information I was given by other fishers and government sources that they were broke. Fishers from that co-operative could not pay back the loans and also there was a big corruption going on. 8 "The government listens to us, I can't remember an example but they are nice to us". "I don't know if the communication is good in the co-operatives or not because my father is the one who is the member and he is the one that goes to the meetings and that looks after the fishing issues". "What is the National fisheries Institute?, I don't know, I haven't heard of them". "The resource is being kept well, and I think the government works well along with fishers. I think the government has been lucky and has decided the closures well, I don't know the times but I know they are good because there are always lots of fish and shrimp". "When we used to fish in the other way...we used to fish with a boat but with different nets, but the government said it was not very good so they changed the equipment, but they didn't like it either. We just stayed with this one because the drift net is really smart". "When the government wants to impose something that we don't like, they listen to us and they take into consideration what we don't want". "Here we don't have problems with fishers; just once in a while, with fishers, but with fishers from other towns. And those are not very strong problems". 9 "I feel that in general the communication with the government officials is good, good with every fisher. It is very good with the people that work here in the community and good with people from outside the local government". "They (officials) consult with us when there is going to be a change or simply when some decisions affecting the activity are changing. I think it could be better though". "The government officials give us information needed for the proper management of the fishery and for the management of the co-operative, and even when you're just curious about something, they give you the information, they take you out". "I know well the decision making process in the National Fisheries Institute". "We are not too much in touch with them. Well, barely take with them". "Communication in the co-operatives is good but sometimes the fishers are very stubborn and we have to repeat and repeat the things we want to say, but well, that is part of the communication". He thinks that in general the government has been effective when managing the fishery in El Golfo. "They have adapted well to the system, and there is a good communication with them. Sometimes I feel there is no law, but that is not the government's fault, but the fisher's fault". "The regulations are in line with what fishers want and do, and that is why they do follow the orders. Once the fisher understands, he follows the orders". "There are no problems among fishers, excepting every once in a while, and it is nothing too bad, nothing it can be solved. Sometimes there are problem with foreign fishers, but it is not too bad either". "We don't get along with the boats, but we don't have direct problems with them (because they don't see each other's faces)". The following comments were contradicting with previous comments and with other fishers' comment regarding organisation and legal fishing: "I believe that some 30 to 35% of the fishers are not in the co-operative. If they want to go and fish, they just go. Since there is no monitoring. But it could be solved, i f we had some S E M A R N A P people and some PROFEPA people that truly monitor the resource". "God, the curvina fishery. There is no order, almost the same as the shrimp. Many boats go out without a permit. There is no monitoring". "I think the shrimp is doing well, it is a healthy resource because there are many factors that forbid the fisher of going shrimping daily: the wind, the tides, i f the gear is torn, i f it is a holiday, i f the motor is broken, and things like this", " . . . i f the curvina goes on like this, like this, from one year to the other, it is going to disappear because it is just too much, too many curvinas taken out. In the curvina season almost 133 50% of the boats have no fishing license and they are fishing. There is no law. There is no law that says: you know what?, we'll do this and that so they don't go fishing". "Ocean Garden is our best option and they work very well". "If they did not give us the loans, well, we would try to move to other sides (for the credits) but since that is the govenment's enterprise, well, we try to work with the government to avoid selling the product in the outside. It is nice to work with them". 10 "Nah!, I don't know. I don't go out much. I hear what I want and I say little. What for?". "Well, they say that some co-oepratives are doing good and that they have their sessions often and this and that, but who knows, you need to ask other fishers. I am no longer an active one". "Ah, yes, i f I ask I get answers, what else could happen? If somebody does not want to tell me, I ask somebody else. There are always people around because remember, this is a fishers community, everywhere you turn around there are fishers". "I can find out anything if I wanted to, but I don't need it". "I guess it is fine, but we have had bad times. I tell you, the time of the boats (large-scale) was tough and the government did nothing". "Yes they say that now the co-operatives are doing good and that the guy from the government (fisheries official) is close to the fishers". "For what I hear the shrimp does well this years". "We used to get much much more catch than now, but you can still get lots around here because, because it is a fertile water in here". "I go to those meetings with the government people and they seem fine, I have no problem with them but honestly I don't care much, I am old, I am tired and I don't want to get too involved anymore". "I don't hear of many problems with the fishers and government officials, they work more or less together. I believe it is better now than in my times". "The government seems to be receptive of the people". 11 "That is a blessing for this community, that it is still so small because we can interact very strongly". "I feel very confident to go and talk to people, I am not shy to asking questions or for help. In the cooperative it is the same thing because it is an encouraging environment and you don't feel left over. Also, there are many other people and they are fishers, so there is always somebody that will have questions that answer your current or past questions too". "We get together with the government officials often in meetings, but we can also go to his office and get him if we need something, and in the weekends we have him around too". "The PROFEPA guys is helpful and we always pick him up to go and do the monitoring. You need to be valient to take that job because fishers can get frisky with the government. They like government but obviously sometimes they want to do things that are not allowed and there you have the problems, but in general we all get along somehow". "You can't be against the government because you need them!". "We have been very lucky because we are in an enclosed area and the government has always been in our side. I hear that in other communities, since it is so open, the government has a hard time getting along with them, but here it is different, they are part of our families in one or other way. I would not have them over for breakfast, but I see them every day, many times a day". "I feel that in general the government has kept the place more or less fine, and actually the catches are doing better than in previous years". "We haven't had many conflicts with outsiders or anything like that and the officials 134 12 "It is fine, we don't have any problems with the government or with fishers from the others (co-operatives)". "The best times are the assemblies, when you get to scream to other fishers i f they have been doing something wrong. You can't do anything in this town without having the whole town interested on that". "The meetings are seriours, well, you know what I mean, they are important and when the fisheries official is there to tell us something or explain, you should see the disaster that goes on... it is a disaster because everybody wants to ask him something directly". "I usually get him apart i f I have a question that I don't want to ask directly to my co-operative. Sometimes I just feel like that and it is good because then you build a relationship with him, and with his family, and that is as important as anything else". "There could be some improvements in the communication, make it more formal or very snobby, but we are not like that, we don't need that. We want to know what we want, not all that we don't know, so it is just a matter of asking and that is it. They are good in answering, we are good in asking, no problems". "They are fine. Government is government and well, what can you expect, it is always the same", "the main problem with these people is that they have no money, no gas, no cars, to move around and do their work. They are more fishers than government, because we give them everything". "They try hard, and well, they are better than previous ones". "I hope they follow up like they are, although they could use some different approaches, try something more creative but again, they are not businessman, they have no money, why would they be creative, right?. 13 "It is good, it is good in general. The co-operative serves its purpose of keeping us informed and letting us go and scream to the others in an open forum!, ja! That is not true, we don't really scream to each oter, but you know, it is nice to go to a place where you can say what you feel. That is hard to find". "If we have problems with other fishers we just go and talk to them. You tell them, 'it was my fault, forgive me', or 'it was your fault, lets talk about it'. It is not a problematic area, as it is in other bigger communities". "Well, i f more fishers are going to come we should welcome them! -1 think it will be tough to tell them to hit the road, but I am sure the fisheries official could give us a hand there. He is very accessible and we get along fairly well with him". "It is like everything else, there are no good or bad governments, but good or bad people". "The government has been good, and the officials that we get are really cool. They help us although of course they have their mistakes and that is just normal because they are humans". " A lot of people says they are very corrupt, but who cares! As long as they are here to help us, i f they want to make some extra money that is fine with us, as long as they don't abandon us!". "We have some hard times sometimes because there are many boats around here and it can get in your nerves and the government can't kick them out just like that, right? They are poor people too. But we need some order around here". "I don't take life too seriously, so I don't really care much if the government is good or not, as long as we keep going, as long as I am still catching my animals, and as long as there are no problems among us. I wouldn't stand that". 135 14 "The fisheries officials, I haven't had a lot of touch with them but I hear they are pretty accessible". "If there was something important concerning laws or regulations the co-operative would let us know". "They are pretty good at this, they are good". "The officials supposedly are good too, I don't know, I really don't know because I just came back and this is my second season in many years". "Yes, my family is a fishers one, but I am not with them, I am with my friends. My dad pasted away and that is why we fish with our cousins now". "We get along well and we talk a lot, but we're a family so i f there are some problems we are very soft on each other". "I don't know about government officials from Mexico. Last year, when I came back, I did not hear a thing from them. The important people here are the ones living in El golfo, not somebody I don't know how many hours away from here". "I don't know who is in the co-operative, I am too new. I don't really know who the directors board is right now". "So far it has been good, government seems to be accessible and helpful". "I came to the community in part because of that, because I hear that they (fishers) are doing good and it is a pretty good job, and there are lots of shrimps and fish". I believe the community has a good system and they work as a team, that is why they are doing well". 15 "It depends, it depends on the person. The co-operatives are good, but some times it is hard to speak with the people there, especially when they are family, because then they take it personal. But in general i f we need information we ask and we are responded". "No, they don't know I want to leave it, but I guess they expect me to do so, because I did not do well this season". "They did not say anything, but well, some of them want me out because they think I don't work like them". "The government official is good, I told him about my situation and he says he can help me finding room in a different co-operative. And why not? I have been here 37 years, I am considered from E l Golfo, true? So somebody else will open the doors for me". "It is fine, what can I tell you. They let us work, we let them work. We get along fine and I think the people we have been getting lately are good and know what they are doing". "They are in touch with us constantly, asking us how can they help, what should they tell the people in Mexico, etc". "When we are not happy they usually try to find a way to mediate interests". "They really have no resources, so they depend a lot on us. But even i f they did not, I think we would get along, because they are good people". "Some times the regulations seem very strong, but it is usually only at the beginning. You know, they have to adapt to the community, they have to be realistic. And they are pretty good at that". 16 "Very good, we have a great communication and access to most people and to informatino we need". "We hold our seasonal assembly and we hear what the fishers think and what are the main issues, and even how they feel about it". "We work in collaboration with the government, very closely, we are in touch all the time, which is really easy because we meet them all day, we run into them all the time while in town". "They (officials) come and ask us how are we doing, etc. They are very open to our suggestions too". "Fine, no complaints except the large-scale boats". "They have to kick them out at any cost. This is not possible. They can't just keep coming into this area, with the Biosphere reserve and all". "I know it is not their fault (the local officials) because they have no way to get rid of the large boats. It is even dangerous, but in Mexico they could do something about it. Supposedly they are going to, but I've heard that song too many times to believe it". "Right now it is not a major problem because we have resources for all, because the fishery is doing well and because there are no major problems going on, but as soon as the town starts growing I want to see what the government is going to do. We will not share our fishing areas, especially i f they are protected by law because it is a natural reserve". 136 17 "I think it is very good (the communication). We never had a problem", "they are always there for us and they... you can always find them, lets say, and approach them". "We also have people like you that come and talk to us and that opens our eyes sometimes!". "The co-operative always holds an assembly and that is very good because it gives us an opportunity to express and ask what we want. I am shy, right? but when you have meetings where most fishers attend I bet you that somebody else will have the same questions or concerns that I have, so they will be resolved". "We also talk a lot with the company (meaning Ocean Gardens) and they are very important for the co-operatives, they are the ones with the dollars for our equipment. The "jarocho" (nickname of the representative of that company) is very open and is always trying to help us out..." "they work well because we work with them and that way, you know, it is like a relationship, it grows well". "The best thing about the government officials is that you can always approach them. I hear people complaining from different cities and that happens because it is not such a personal relationship with them, there are too many people in those cities, and the fisheries officials there don't even know your last name". "The worse thing is that sometimes they don't really have a chance to look at the possible problems growing, and that is what happened to me many years ago when I was in the other co-operative. Fishers were telling the government that there was a funny smell in that co-operative but they did not even care. Why would they? i f they were always so far from here and one fisheries official is not enough". "There are many rules in place and they make fishers follow them because that is the way to go and keep our resource in good status". "No, when the, well, yes, in part, when the shrimp did not come back to these waters it was in part because of the government's fault because they let the people from the other side (U.S.) to take as much water as they want, and we don't even get a drop a month. But how do you control that? They are more powerful than mexicans". "I like the government to be the leader for fisheries, and I want them to develop this place more, we need roads, we need processing planes with co-oling systems, and transport cars. I think I wont see it, imagine, I am too old now, but I know it will happen". 18 "The co-operative and the government have good communications systems". The government gives us the statistics i f we want to and some more information needed in the co-operatives, and the government officials help us getting it when it is not in available in town". "I know perfectly how the National Fisheries Institute works and how the make their decisions regarding closures and studies". "I have been in direct touch with government officials representing this organisation (INP)". "Profepa is in charge of monitoring, but their actions are very limited. To begin with, they are people hired only for one year: their period ends and they leave. And they send one, only one!. Only one people to do the inspection of the whole area, well, that is not enough", "conflicts, well, nobody has real problems in the community. Well, the typical problems but is not bad at all", and with fishers from foreign communities we don't have problems either". "I totally disapprove that the boats continue trawling, and well, let me tell you, those 'cucapa' are not really a fisher tribe. Their strong activity is the agriculture, but the happen to live in the delta of the river. They took advantage of the issues going on in Chiapas and they made themselves be heard, with the excuse of being an indigenous town. They did not hear us (the community), but we are not left aside either. They (government) say that, well, ' i f you ask we will give you. It is not our mission to give to somebody who is not requesting a thing'. This is an established fishing town. There used to be more monitoring before, and now, now we even have to pay for it!!". "This year the shrimp price went down some 40%. This happened because Ocean Garden had a lot of the product in storage and couldn't sell it because there was a lot of shrimp coming in from Louisiana and that region, and well, they buy our shrimp at a lower price". "During the holly week we found about ninety cars and a bunch 137 of boats. This was all inside the river, everybody fishing illegally. And all the fools (us) of the biosphere reserve following the laws, while somebody else was fishing. 19 "There is good communication in the co-operative, especially, you know, when you are all family you will still be able to see each other all day and you will still be able to be there for whatever they need, and well, in the assembly, you can express your needs, but we usually do it everyday so the assemblies are more a kind of formality." "There is good communication between us and the government officials and the few problems that we have we solve them speaking. That is the good side of being in a small community, it is so easy to go and look for whoever you want to talk to, and it is so easy to go and get whatever informatio you are looking for, it doesn't matter what type, where is my wife? and sombody will tell you? who went fishing in such and such boats? and somebody will know, we know where our fishers are going fishing, which areas, i f they want to go to the rocks, or closer to the delta, and things like that". "When we have some problem or little thing inside that you want to let out we just speak, here, you go and look for that person and ask him to go for some beers and that is it, you speak". "It is damaging us a lot. The size of the shrimp is not good. It is because of the large boats in the area of the biosphere reserve, the government is allowing that and it is bad for us. The shrimp does not grow!". "This can't be happening to us. We are the only large community living inside the reserve". "I predict a really sad ending for the reserve. If the large boats continue to get in the area, it won't work". "I don't like the pangas from Puerto Penasco to come and fish here: i f we were to go to Puerto Penasco with our pangas, they would kick us out immediately. They are going to tell us 'go back to your place'". "When the government (referring to local officials) is making some decisions they more or less take us into consideration and they try to help us when they can. There are many interests in the middle, I understand that, but they seem to help us, they want to, at least". "The new regulations and stuff like that are more or less in line with our organization and with how we run our (fishing) activities". "I guess that most people follow up on the laws, most of them do, changes here and there but we follow them". I hate that, well, we have always had a bad relationship with the maritech (the aquaculture site next to the community) because they are very abusive and the government still helps them. They have done many bad things to us. Once they spilled a liquid in the water and many fish and pelicans died. There are comments around town that the tanks where they keep the larvae are rotten...all that is polluting our waters". "We were born before the biosphere reserve was here. We are not in the same situation as other small communities, to us, the authority has to give us special treatment because we are the reserve". 138 20 "We are very lucky because our co-operative is very good. The co-operative is good in managing our issues, and they always tell you what is going on. I think it is the best in E l Golfo". "We have a general assembly, which is the meeting where all the co-operative members attend and we can express ourselves there". "You can also speak with the directors even when there is not assembly planned yet, or even if you just don't feel like waiting until the assembly, you just go to their house or their boats and talk to them". "When somebody is doing something "crooked" (meaning wrong) we throw the stone to him (suggest, without directly addressing to him) saying that we know somebody is doing something. I mean that we tell them if we see him doing something wrong, but i f he is also still doing it later on, well, during the assembly we'll say it so all fishers will know about it. People are embarrassed of these things". "Fishers are strange because sometimes there are some envies, but they always help each other, so ir you need a hand you just go and ask for it. There are no problems around here, the usual ones but nothing too special. You have a problem with me? you come and tell me, just like that, and we'll fix it". "Sometimes everybody wants to talk to the officials at the same time and of course that is impossible, so if they see this is happening they call for a meeting where all fishers are invited and we can speak with them and that way we don't repeat our quesions or doubts". "I don't like speaking there, but many times other fishers or my friends or my dad have the same quesiton to the board of directors, so they get answered". "No, I don't see communications problems. Sometimes just that the road is not very good, but it is much better than before. You know, to send our truck loaded with the shrimp to Puerto Penasco, because our co-operative delivers in the Ocean Garden of P. Penasco, not the one here. There is just not enough space". "I am at peace with the fishery management here in El Golfo because the government is doing an effort to help us, you see them working always at any time, you see them around the pangas at 6 or 7 in the morning and you see them again when we come back, even i f it is late. Can you imagine? who would take that job, when we go out for mackarel we have to go fishing, and well, the officials have to come out at night and do some work". "They work in the weekends and they are always available for us. When I need something I can go to the officials' place and just knock and ask him to come and help me or to help me answer my doubts", "the marketing of the shrimp is the best in here. I hear stories from people who have sold it through a different company and, you don't want that, it ia hassle and then if they don't pay you soon what are you going to do? and we also have the (economic) help to prepare for the season and well, you know, you need some money especially after the summer, nobody has money by then. And I feel it and I don't even have a family of my own, imagine if I had to put soup in a wife and some kids' mouth. I would be really thankful for the support!". "The resource seems to be doing well and we still get very good catches. They say it is not the same as it was before but well, I guess that is because now we have to share it with more people, but the volumes caught are about the same, I don't know...". 139 ID # Effectiveness Fisher 1 Some fishers are really bad in paying their debts and therefore all of us, the others, are screwed up because we have to pay (we have to share the debt), but some times the co-operative threatens those irresponsible fishers and tells them it will take their fishing gear i f they don't pay. I attend all the co-operative meetings because that is good for me. We are very well organised regarding where, how and when to fish; each fisher has its own working zone. To improve the fishery we have to respect the closures and respect the marketing of the product (only handing it in to the co-operative). I manage my season money very well. The monitoring of who is doing illegal actions is made by the fishers, because we tell each other when we see something. Our fishing community is like a large family and that is why there are no problems among us. Fishers are only divided into co-operatives. That is our main association and we are all 'mixed up' and we are like a family. Yes. The co-operative for me is very important and it is my second family. Some fishers make me angry because they don't know how to fish and they rip my gear (in the water) because they go too fast and not paying attention to what they are doing. Other times, well, it is not the fishers' fault because in the winter they are driving and covering their faces they don't know where they are going and they rip it (the gear). Ah! If the one who rips my gear is a boat then I do scream to them and make them pay it to me. You can't be patient with those guys. 2 "Yes, we repect the closures but not because of the fines, we don't care about that, but it is convenient to have lots of product left for next year, so we let it rest". " A l l the fishers get together and co-operate for the monitoring of the resource". I asked if he had ever stopped fishing before the government formally closed the season and her responded "Never! That is not convenient for us!...and save it for others??? No way!" (I found this comment interesting because this particular fisher is part of the group that thinks the season is closed too late, yet he does not want to do anything about it - say stop fishing before the season is officially closed - because obviously not everybody is going to do the same and of course he would be "saving some shrimp" for others to go and catch it. This would be a good example of the tragedy of the commons, because he is not seeing any benefit derived from stopping doing something. Others will catch what he didn't. 3 "I like how things are discussed in the co-operative, I think they are indeed effective". "I think it is good, I believe in the way decisions are made through co-ooperatives because they consult with us and we can say what we think or like and I think all the co-operatives are like this but, as in everything else, there are co-operatives with bad management practices". He thinks the resource is over-exploited, especially when compairing availability with that of other decades. "I have never had problems with fishers, either from town or from foreign towns. Well, frictions, as in everything else, but they are solved by talking or letting them go. Don't pay much attention because i f not you end up with a big mess. Let it go and it gets solved on its own". 4 "No, well, here the co-operatives, I think, are working fine and I am glad that I belong to one of them". "The co-operative where I work belongs to my family and it is only family working there". "We don't have problems in the co-operative, excepting some arguing, but nothing too serious". Y'Usually assemblies are organised and all the members have to attend; there is where we make our decisions". "I feel that all the co-operatives get along with each other and they support each other when needed. I don't think there are any negative sides of the co-operatives". " Generalmente se organizan asambleas y todos los miembros tienen que asistir; ahi se hace la toma de decisiones. "There are no problems among the local and the foreign fishers, just every once in a while, and that happens because they try to steal parts from our motors". "According to fishers in our family the resource is in good shape but we need to take better care of it because yes, we have seen some decrease in the catch". "I like being in the co-operative because, being more fishers gives us more strenght. It is harder to be abused by somebody and, besides, that way somebody speaks for us and takes care of our interests". "Of course there are a few little problems here and there, but nothing too serious. It gives us more than what it takes from us". "The co-operative helps us selling the product, gives us money for the fishing gear, even when we need money it gives us some, i f we had some dead at home or something, it always gives us a hand". 140 5 "The fishers work very well and I think they could handle and manage the load of taking care of the resource, but you know, as in everything, it is much better to have the authority (government)". "The co-operatives make democratic decisions and let the members know about it. The fishers associations are very much needed and everytime they are doing a better job". "According to what some fishers say, the resource is a bit over-exploited, because before we used to get bigger catches". "There are no problems among fishers, not even when we had the large-scale boats. This community is very peaceful". 6 He says that the fishing gear changed because the drift nets are much more selective and fishers are interested in conserving the resource. "The co-operatives in this community work very well and there are good benefits of belonging to a co-operative. They help you working out the licenses, there is a better price for the product sold, and so on. "Since the co-operatives were created the shrimp (price) went up. the volume was larger in other decades, but it did not sell as well as it does now. The shrimp was smaller because it was caught with a trawling net". "If the season is good the fishers manages his money by investing in better gear and making their houses nicer. What happens here (ni EGSC) is that we have a 'bad season' when there is almost nothing to catch. We have closures in this fishery and we have to respect them". He does not like large boats because "since we are small boat fishers, we don't have the capacity of fishing in other areas. And they (large boats) come and take away our product, here in El Golfo, the big boats. When it is over, they just move over to some other areas and we can't do that! They leave us without resource". "The resource is healthy, the catches have decreased but not alarmingly, and the time when it did decreased by too much the curvina arrived. As some people would say, the same product sent a substitute so it could take a rest". They don't seem to have problems with other fishers from other co-operatives or from outside the community, but he repeated that he doesn't know how it would be in other co-operatives. "Co-operatives in this community are very good and they only have the typical troubles of any other organisation, but it works out at the end. We have democratic processes (at least in our we do) and when the issue is new members well, we never allow the entrance to somebody who is just arriving to the community". " Here, i f you don't throw yourself to it you don't eat" ... "Of course we don't like catching it when it is fat (meaning before spawning) but you know the saying: i f my grandma has to die or I have to die then my grandma will die..." ... "If we let them, the bunch of pangas that comes from outside the community will catch the curvina first and well, that is not fair because we sell curvina at good prices. That is why the government should close the entrance of other pangas so we have a better chance of doing things right, right? taking care of the resource". 7 "The co-operatives' work is very good". "It is a great advantage to work in co-operatives because, as they say, the union makes the strength and it is what gives the fisher its worth". "The only disadvantage that I see are the discussions that you have to have within the community, but it does not take you anywhere, it is not problematic. There are no disadvantages, all is momentarily. There is nothing like being united to be stronger and make the government understand". "I feel that the resource is not vey healthy. It has never recovered and well, I don't think it will ever recover totally because there are still many trawlers in the area of the reserve". "I am very happy with my co-operative and decisions are made democratically during the assemblies, and we don't have internal problems. Well, maybe some problems but just small differences and stuff like that, nothing serious". "We don't have problems with other co-operatives. The confusion is that there are people from everywhere and they don't understand the suffering and hard life of the people living here, the supports we need, and things like that, they did not suffer the creation of this co-operative because they just arrive here and through the boat to the water and so what, I am mexican and well, that is not fair. It is true, right, that is true, they are mexicans, but you have to stick to the system that works for the community in order to have everything". "The shrimp permits are very limited. That is why we take so much people from outside the co-operative, because we need help and also because we want to help. A bit gets sold outside the co-operative, I should admit that, but nothing too bad, and that is made just to get some money for lunch or sometimes for the gasoline". "Fishers here in the community are well organised and they know how, where and how much they fish. 8 Fishers have been good in taking care of the resource, I think, and it has lasted quite a few years". "We follow the orders and regulations that the government gives and fishers obey the opening and closure seasons". 141 9 "I think the fisher takes good care of its resource, but he always has to be leaded by an authority, si not, he does what he feels like doing". "I spent three years as the President and I do not think it is very difficult to be one. The difficulty comes when you have to manage people. The people you have to stand. Imagine that you are in a school and are dealing with children because many of them do not know a thing and they just keep the discussion going on stupidly. That is why it is difficult, dealing with people, know how to treat them and explain to them so they can understand things". "But once the fisher understands he obeys: I used to explain them (the law) when they did not deliver the product and moved it through other line. I used to tell them about the clauses and they seem to be pretty cool about it". "I like working in co-operatives, working in group is very good". "Well, working like that, as a group, is good, but only when everybody delivers (not only in terms of production but in terms of workload, fees payment, etc). Because there are some that pull towards one side and some that do deliver. However, it is very beneficial for us to work in co-operatives" "the company gives you loans, that means you have advantages. When many times you don't have money, like during the louse, in august, they give you loans for the gear". 10 "In this community there are not problems among fishers but sometimes they dislike each other. But it goes away from them really soon and later on the day they are together again, like friends". "Even when the fishery (shrimp) is organised there is not so much shrimp anymore because there are too many boats. On Set 16th some caught almost 200 k per boat and others got not even 20!" "The people are interested in the fishery because it is the only here to do in this community. How are you going to feed your kids eh?". "Fishers are good and the main problem in this community is poverty. We barely have something to eat!" 11 "I think we have done well, for being in such a remote area and in such hard conditions I don't think we have abused in the fishery". "Most fishers get along with each other". "The problems are usually solved through the co-operative. I won't say that everybody is satisfied at the end because that is not true, but there is most of the time a sense that things are fair". "One of the most important things of this community is that we work in families, that way, my mom and sisters are involved in the whole process. They don't fish, of course, but they go and help us clean the boats, take the heads off the shrimp, or clean the fish". Then they always prepare lunch and meals for the trips, and have everything ready for our return". "If you work as a family you are a stronger producer". 12 "In the last 5 years or so the fishery has been good, we survive with what we get. Compared with some 10 years ago I don't know if it is better or worse. What I used to receive (income) some 5 years ago is not similar to what I get now... .Well, now money is different (meaning he gets more) but there used to be more shrimp before". "Some people say that we take too much from the sea, but I don't think so, well, sometimes yes, but it is the bycatch, what can you do with this? nothing, it is only making the boat heavier, so we have to get rid of it". "Since we got the drift net it has improved a lot and it helps to stop the depradation of fish that we don't target". "We had to fight for it (the gill-nets) because they (government) did not want it and of course it is the best system". "I don't know how it got here, the idea of the gill-net, we used to trawl with the boats but somebody thought of it or saw it somewhere. I think it is great and it is really good for conserving the shrimp resource. It is so clean (clean means very good for catching only the targeted species)". 13 "We are good, I tell you, we have a really large family called E l Golfo de Santa Clara and we have the same problems that a family has". "For example (some of the problems are): misunderstandings, envy, selfishness at times". "But we keep the fishery moving, and we solve our problems, that is what counts for this community. It is not whether or not we are the best fishers or not, but whether or not we can all get something and live in a good environment (not natural, but social, he meant). "Yes, it is true, sometimes we get a bit carried away with the fishery, especially with the curvina, but it is because the damn fish only comes for a few days, which means either you get it or you get it, and it is a total disaster. I think it could leave us again (the fish, meaning curvina fishery could go down) but I don't think it is our fault. That is the way the fish is: nobody knows why it hadn't returned in so many years. Forty or so, they say". "We are pretty good at speaking to each other, and i f somebody is shy, I speak for him, for example, i f it were my friend, or some of his friends does. Nobody is abandoned here". 14 "Fishers here are good, and they are really friendly". "They fish, they deliver, no problems like in the other communities". "Fishers here have managed to keep a stable fishery, more or less. It is not that different to the one I left years ago". 142 15 "I feel that in general fishers here are good and work well together. I don't want to be with my co-operative anymore but not because they are bad fishers, but because they are my family and they can't keep it separately (work and family). But they work hard, actually some times too hard. I am not like that". "We take it easy some times, but that is good because we don't need to take everything out of the ocean in order to get a good season. It is better to spread it through the years. That is why we let the resource rest a lot. Not a lot, but more or less". "The problem is that we do it (let the resource rest) and then the boats come and grab all that we were protecting. That is not good, but that is nobody's fault, who can deal with such large boats? These guys from government in the community? Not really, they don't even have a boat!". "I just find it unfair sometimes that in Mexico they cover the interests of the large boats more than ours and the environment ones". "But the main problem, as I see it, is to do things on our own. It is a matter of fishers, not government, what determines if the fishery is good or not. Just that. We complain about the many pangas, yet we are here talking to everybody even when it may be one of those pirate pangas. Not allowed to work here. Of course, we need to become more energic with outsiders". 1'6 "You find all kinds of fishers, but most of the time they are good persons". "It is in our best interest to do things appropriately so we can continue getting a profit form the resource" "I think the community is excellently organised and it is really working well. The fishers seem to be working fine and in harmony with each other, and since the seasons have been good, there are no problems of I got very little, I got more", "Compared to 10-15 years ago, it was different then (they used to catch more product), but that is because there were less pangas fishing" "...but before you could not market the product the way we do now, so we end up getting as much money as we used to get then (10-15 years ago)". "I think the big challenge will be to keep the community doing as well as it is now. Lets see what happens in a few years". 17 "I look at other fishing towns (referring to Puerto Penasco y San Felipe) and they are having problems. We think we have problems but we really don't. They do". "We always complain but that does not mean that something is wrong, it is just natural because I don't really see how things could be wrong here: fishers work hard (but he explained that in old times fishers used to work harder, the physical work was higher) and the government is there to help them". "They are well organised and they watch over each other and watch that each other is working properly, and they don't let the resource go down. They let it rest. Sometimes, you know, some are too young and they like to do things rush, rushed money, rush love, rush everything, but then they learn, and their families guide them, their fathers fish and they do know, they were all like that". "I am very pleased with my co-operative. I was in another co-operative when I was younger and they left me without a 'peso' (he lost money) and never cared for me, but now I am happy. It has changed in time you know, and we have more options of co-operatives. I am too old but I am sure some co-operative would take me". I loved speaking with this fisher. He is so concerned about the 'bad luck' of his panga that he is thinking on doing some rituals to see if the 'bad spirits' go away. 18 "About how the economic situation has been in the last five years, well, it had been thirty five years since the curvina had left. Since it came back we have seen an improvement. But also because of that there is a lot of increase in the effort put of about two or three fold. Then, right now the risk is that we don't have the curvina for sure, it may leave again". "Here the town has to pay 25, 30 or 40 thousand pesos for the closures season to support the government with fuel, personnel, motors, boats, so the monitoring gets done". "As soon as the closures is over everybody starts taking everything". 19 "When it is the closed season the whole town co-operates for the monitoring. As soon as the season opens everybody gets its hands in the reserve". "Fishers are no longer enjoying seasons of good economic performance. Now we just try to cover our fishing expenses. We just live by the day. The gear, the parts fort he motor, etc., that is really expensive". "Fishers here in the community are good, they are capable and if they want the can run the game without the government, and well, it is always good to have the government presence but I'm sure they can". 143 20 "To be honest, I have to say that fishers yes, they are good here in the community but I would be afraid to let them be the lead force for the management. We need the government presence because we feel more comfortable. It has to be somebody that is not a fisher". "I believe that we are doing a good job in managing ourselves because we have kept it (fishery) going for many years and we still get good catches, and we still have a really good shrimp species i f you compare it with the ones in Mazatlan or in Guaymas, this one is much bigger and it tastes good". "We take good care of our catches and put a lot of effort in the handling of the product". "There are a few (leaders) and they are good friends, we always look at them because I want to be like them, especially like el coco, he just works so hard and well, you know what they say, you also need a bit of luck". "I guess we have done a good job in keeping the community together because we all get along very well and we have no problems with outsiders. 144 

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