Commercial Fishing Boat Caught Poaching in Loreto
Wednesday, August 20, 2008 • Report by Richard Nauman
Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico - A commercial fishing vessel from Mazatlan was caught illegally poaching north of Loreto and was seized along with 1,300 kilos of dorado onboard in their storage holds. Along with the dorado were two small sharks. Under Mexican fisheries law, dorado is reserved strictly for sport fishing and can only be taken commercially only if it is an incidental catch. Sharks can be caught commercially but only under a special shark permit which this boat did not have. Repeated calls by local sport fishing pangeros and charter boat operators who witnessed the vessel setting illegal longlines for dorado and filleting the meat at sea were made to the local PROFEPA agents, but PROFEPA was unable to investigate due to lack of funding (no gas for its patrol boat).
PROFEPA engaged the help of the Loreto Marine Park officials who accompanied them to make the bust. The vessel named Bahía Adair 7 was seized and brought to port in Loreto at 16:00 hours on Wednesday before being transferred to La Paz. On further interviewing PROFEPA agents on the matter, myself and Laura Escobasa of Eco-Alianza Loreto were informed that PROFEPA’s funding ran out two months ago and they no longer have money for gas nor enough funds to maintain their equipment.
As a result, we are investigating ways in which funds received from the purchase of Mexican Sport Fishing Permits and Loreto Marine Park Tickets can be collected and used in the Loreto area for the purposes of research and enforcement of the laws. We will be posting a survey to increase tourist awareness about Mexican fishing licenses soon which will help us to build the following case that Mexican fishing license revenue collected in Loreto is disproportionately higher than the anywhere else in Baja California Sur and the rest of Mexico, thus those funds should rightly stay in this area to aid in enforcement and protection of the Federally- mandated Marine Park established in 1996.
The Founders, Directors and Partners of Eco-Alianza de Loreto applaud the individual efforts made by PROFEPA, CONAPESCA and the Marine park officials for stopping these illegal fishing practices.