Lake Pátzcuaro, a97.5 km2 lake in central México, has animportant artisanal multi-species fishery thatis currently overexploited. Twelve fishes andone amphibian are important in the fishery,which is conducted largely from small woodenboats using seines, gill nets, and thetraditional butterfly net. Fishery yields fromthe lake peaked in 1988, but have declined tonear record lows since then. We propose amanagement plan to restore the fishery. Keycomponents of the plan include: 1) licensingand restricting the number of fishermen; 2)continuing a recent ban on seines andimplementing limits on the number and meshsizes of gill nets to allow fish to complete atleast one spawning before they are vulnerableto harvest; 3) establishing a closed season andareas closed to fishing to protect spawningfish; 4) increased education for fishermen inbasic skills, fishing technology, andalternative jobs; 5) continued monitoring andresearch to assess trends in the fishery and todevelop culture techniques to help restore fishpopulations; and 6) compliance and enforcementmechanisms to make the plan effective,including perhaps establishment of propertyrights for particular areas of the lake forspecific groups of fishermen and more generallyan equitable assignment of lake ecosystem usesbetween fishery and non-fishery users. Werecommend the plan be implemented in anadaptive fashion with provisions for adjustingregulations as conditions warrant. If at leastsome elements of this plan are not adopted thenthe Lake Pátzcuaro fishery is likely tocollapse.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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